A Few More Who Might Be Able To Answer Questions

I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago that I was about to begin reading Jack Straw’s autobiography, ‘Last Man Standing’. I finished it this morning and it was very much a case of the Ghost of Private Eyes Past – Straw talks about all the things that provided Eye readers with so much entertainment throughout the Blair and Brown years. Lord Levy, the Millennium Dome, Prezza assaulting a member of the public, Hans Blix searching for Saddam’s WMD down the back of the sofa, Lord Derry Irvine of the very expensive wallpaper, Charlie Falconer, the Hutton Report, it’s all there. Jack talks a lot about his friend Condi Rice and mentions many things that will remind everyone of why so many people cancelled their Labour Party membership during the Blair years. Jack seems to think that he’s dealing with these matters in a way that constructs them as positive, but he doesn’t manage that very successfully.

Jack’s interpretation of history is rather different than that of many other people. ASBOs ‘were a success’ – no Jack, ASBOs criminalised thousands of vulnerable people including children with mental health problems, autism and Tourettes, they were a disaster which is why they were abandoned. The return of Mandelson to Gov’t was a ‘positive’ move – no, that was the final straw (so to speak) for many of us – and best of all, Alistair Campbell was a man of ‘integrity’. Er, OK Jack, whatever you say. So what does Jack have to say about that rather difficult business involving the death of Dr David Kelly? Well, Dr Kelly ‘tragically died in July 2003’ but Jack doesn’t mention the circumstances. I seem to remember it had something to do with a dodgy dossier, the most enormous row with the BBC and the hounding and scapegoating of Dr Kelly – the root of all this being Alistair Campbell.

Jack is very scathing in his book about someone who stood for election against him on one occasion, even more scathing than he is about the BNP. Who was this candidate who pissed Jack off so much? It was Craig Murray, the former Ambassador for Uzbekistan. I went to listen to Craig Murray speak when he came to Bangor a few years ago and it was fascinating. Craig was of course famously withdrawn from his post in Uzbekistan and was subjected to much Gov’t criticism because he drank, partied and had some relationships with local women. But Craig did something else which was probably what really bothered the Foreign Office – he refused to shut up about the appalling human rights abuses happening in Uzbekistan, which included people being boiled alive. Craig was told that he was ‘over-focussed on human rights’ and was transported back to England where he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. During his lecture, Craig described how he was interrogated and subjected to extreme pressure by British officials and at one point he was told that all this was being done on the personal orders of Jack Straw, who was at the time Foreign Secretary….

There are plenty of pointers in Jack’s book to his slipperiness – for example whenever a scandal broke, whether it was on his watch as Home Secretary or later as Foreign Secretary, he always seemed to be conveniently due to leave the UK that very night and thus was at the airport or on the plane, so it was inevitably a case of ‘I know nuzzing…’ At the very beginning of his book, Jack revels in the fact that even as a young man who had done little more than work for the NUS he had already gained a reputation as a duplicitous git – he boasts that Barbara Castle gave him a job as her political advisor because of his ‘low down cunning’. People who read the comments section of my blog might have noticed that one of my correspondents has been mentioning that Barbara Castle, Jack Straw and Norman Warner were covering up terrible things happening to disabled people in the mid-70s – Jack speaks admiringly of Norman Warner in his book and obviously really rated him. Jack mentions that Norman became Lord Warner – it’s becoming a familiar scenario isn’t it…

Jack did of course cause a bit of a stir at one point by going public on his habit of asking fully veiled women visiting his surgery in Blackburn to remove their veils before they spoke to him. At the time that Straw did this, The Veil was becoming an issue, seemingly because people believed that the country was teaming with Muslim women concealing bombs beneath their burkas. Straw represents Blackburn, a constituency with a high proportion of Muslims and I suspect that he has sufficient knowledge to know that Daily Mail columnists’ prejudices rarely reflect reality. He’d represented Blackburn for decades, had a home there and no-one had ever tried to blow him up with weaponry concealed in Islamic dress. He also will have known that for some fully veiled women at least, asking them to remove their veil is like someone asking him to remove his trousers. Jack spoke out about another sensitive subject in his part of the world as well – the sexual grooming of young white girls by some Pakistani men. Fearless Jack asks ‘what’s the point of being in politics and not saying what you think about the difficult issues…’

So was Jack always frank about difficult issues?

One massively difficult issue that landed on Jack’s desk when he was Home Secretary was that of Thatcher’s friend General Pinochet. Pinochet had arrived in England, had tea with Thatcher and a few other old mates and then found himself under arrest because the Spanish Gov’t wanted him extradited to face trial for torture. Jack stressed that he really did think long and hard about this, it took him months and he wasn’t going to be swayed by anyone else’s opinion – indeed he refused to discuss the matter of the murdering old bastard with anyone else at all. Readers may remember that Pinochet wasn’t extradited because some Top Doctors came to his rescue and presented ‘expert’ evidence that Pinochet was incredibly frail and far too ill to stand trial. Pinochet flew home and was famously filmed landing in Chile, immediately getting up out of his wheelchair, happily walking towards his supporters and greeting them enthusiastically.  Jack was horrified! Pinochet had tricked the ‘system’! He was another Ernest Saunders, just when Jack had assured everyone that no way would he allow another scam like that! So whose advice had Jack relied upon – whilst he was refusing to discuss Pinochet’s case with anyone of course? For a start, that of the Chief Medical Officer, Liam Donaldson.

Liam Donaldson wasn’t quite as successful as other Chief Medical Officers had been at pulling the wool over everybody’s eyes – although he did keep bollocking on about successfully achieving ‘patient empowerment’ – and he ended up resigning as a result of the ‘modernising medical careers’ disaster, which screwed up the job application process for thousands of junior doctors. Liam was of course no rebel – indeed when Liam was CMO Mid-Staffs was quietly brewing away and he didn’t put a stop to it, Harold Shipman was brewing away and he didn’t manage to catch that in time either and of course the Top Doctors in north Wales were doing the most appalling things (I note that Donaldson studied at Bristol Medical School at the same time as Dr D.G.E. Wood…). However Top Doctors do get very angry if their paths are crossed in even a minor way and the BMA turned on their own and went after Liam’s blood. One Dr Richard Marks, Head of Policy at the BMA, very obviously wanted Donaldson’s head on a plate and was greatly pleased when he got it. I am wondering if Richard Marks is a member of the high profile Marks medical family, which includes the former Chair of the BMA Dr John Marks and Professor Vincent Marks, whom I worked for at the University of Surrey – both of whom kept quiet about the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors in north Wales (see post ‘The BMA At The Root Of Another Mystery’). I bet he is, being a Top Doctor who reaches the highest echelons of the medical establishment does run in families. Obviously the superior genes…

Liam ‘oversaw’ the medical assessment of Pinochet. I have long wondered who actually provided the dishonest expert report which enabled a vicious dictator to return home and die peacefully of old age in luxury when the bodies of many of his victims had not yet been recovered. It is very difficult to access such info, because a lot of secrecy surrounds Top Doctors’ expert reports to Courts. Of course, Court cases are (usually) public and the expert reports can decide whether someone is imprisoned, banged up for life in a special hospital or allowed to go free immediately, but not any old Tom, Dick or Harry can read those reports or even find out the identity of the Top Doctors giving evidence. I had always intended to publish the packs of lies that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Dr James Earp and Dr Robert Kehoe wrote about me in their capacity as ‘expert witnesses’ to demonstrate what the Top Doctors are actually capable of, but before I began this blog I took legal advice and was told ‘sorry, you are not allowed to ‘reproduce’ their reports in any way’. But they can lie about me… So I have just provided as many details about them as I am legally allowed on the blog. My friends have of course all read the reports and were suitably wowed by the lack of integrity of the Top Doctors who put their names to those documents.

However Jack’s book reveals the name of the Top Doctor who was so helpful to Pinochet! It was Sir John Grimley Evans, who is now Emeritus Professor at Oxford University. After Pinochet made his spectacular recovery as soon as he touched Chilean soil and the shit hit the fan, John Grimley Evans tried to shoulder the blame onto Straw, quibbling over the use of one word in his report. The uproar didn’t harm the long term prospects of dear old Sir John though – in 2005 Parliament still thought highly enough of him to receive written evidence from him for the Select Committee On Science and Technology regarding quality of life in old age. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and between 1999-2014 was listed as a Director of St Luke’s Hospital Oxford, which seems to be a care home. But there’s also a passing reference in Straw’s book to the ‘team’ of medical officers working for the Home Office who were employed on the Pinochet case! So there was Jack, John Grimley Evans and a team of Top Doctors – how did they all manage to get it so wrong?

I remember the case of Pinochet like it was yesterday, because by that time I had discovered how dishonest Dr Dafydd Alun Jones regularly was in his Court reports and I had shared this information with another Hergest patient who had also been stung by Dafydd. This patient entertained himself by ringing Dafydd whilst pretending to be calling from the Spanish embassy to ask Dafydd if he’d certify Pinochet fit for trial. Little did I know that that they might as well have asked Dafydd, his opinion would have been worth about as much as that of Straw, Evans and the Home Office medical officers.

The thing about poor old Jack and his claimed ignorance regarding the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors is that it doesn’t quite add up, whether it’s his Gov’ts lack of nous concerning the growing shit-storm at Mid-Staffs – or Top Docs concealing paedophile rings – or Pinochet’s health assessment. For a start Jack’s daughter Charlotte was a medical student and is now a Top Doctor herself. (Charlotte raised money for Cancer Research UK recently and requested donations to enable the noble scientists and Top Doctors at Cancer Research UK to find a ‘cure’. For  snapshot of what goes on at Cancer Research UK, see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’.) But Jack was very close indeed to someone who really will have known all about the Top Doctors and could have also found him a reliable expert witness to give an opinion on Pinochet – his wife Alice. Alice was a mandarin in the Dept of Health! Furthermore, Jack reveals that in 1997-8 Alice was a senior civil servant in the Treasury working for Gordon Brown, but shortly afterwards was appointed Director General in the DoH! Pinochet was flown back home in in 2000. Come on Alice – why didn’t you tell Jack? Ooh and why didn’t you explain to Jack that where grooming young people in care is concerned it really is not only Pakistani men up to no good – it wasn’t Pakistani men ‘grooming’ (ie. raping and trafficking) the kids in north Wales, it was the social services who were being assisted by the Top Doctors! And once those kids had been beaten into submission and were agreeing to have sex with anyone who asked, they were taken off down to London to have sex with folk in Westminster! Jack claimed to be clamping down on people trafficking in 2000…

Alice is not the only person who might have been able to enlighten Jack re child abuse/the use of psychiatry to conceal such abuse – that is if he didn’t already know something about it from his time working with Barbara Castle and Norman Warner in the DHSS between 1974-76. Jack’s early forays into politics were as a Councillor in Islington – which had a serious problem with a paedophile ring in it’s children’s homes. Jack was also a member of the notorious ILEA between 1971-74 and was Deputy Leader of ILEA 1973-74. Jack is not afraid to level criticism at ILEA in his book – he tells us that he knew that standards in inner London schools were often unacceptably low. There were close links between ILEA, the GLC and the London Councils – those Councils whose children’s services had been infiltrated by paedophiles.

Jack’s work on London Councils and with ILEA resulted in him rubbing noses with an awful lot of people who will have known about the paedophiles running riot in the children’s homes – because those buddies of Jack’s were running those Councils. Jack makes reference in his book to someone whom he admires greatly, the ‘inestimable’ Valerie Amos. Valerie is now Baroness Amos, but long ago at the dawn of time Valerie worked for Lambeth Borough Council – which had a child abuse problem among it’s children in care as big as that in Islington or in north Wales. Indeed, children from Lambeth were also sent up to homes in north Wales where they were molested. The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association from Lambeth are publishing their own accounts of the abuse to which they were subjected, so fed up are they of Gov’t investigations going nowhere. Lambeth Council has paid out millions in compensation to children who were abused in it’s care and it accepts that it will be paying out much more. As in Islington and north Wales, the Council was told what was happening to those kids but the Council let it continue. Amos describes her work with Lambeth as one of her ‘career achievements’ – others include her work with Camden Council and Hackney. Camden – she’ll know this blog’s old friends Tessa Jowell (see posts ‘The London Connection’ and ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’) and John Mills (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’) then! Like so many people who worked for or ran those London Councils in the 70s and 80s whilst paedophiles ran riot in the children’s services, Valerie used her ‘work’ on ‘equality and diversity’ with those councils as a springboard into a career in ‘equalities and diversity’ boosted by New Labour.

Between 1989-94 Valerie was Chief Exec of the Equal Opportunities Commission. In 1995 she formed Amos Fraser Bernard and was an advisor to the South African Gov’t on public service reform, human rights and employment equity. In August 1997 she was made a life peer and became the Secretary for International Development in Blair’s Cabinet. Amos acquired this position after Clare Short resigned. (Straw is incredibly rude about Clare Short in his book – did she have a few too many principles for you then Jack? Clare Short was not one for turning a blind eye as the shit that gathered under Blair mounted up.) In 2003 Amos took over as Leader of the Lords when the previous Leader, Lord Williams Of Mostyn, died. Jack liked him. Lord Williams of Mostyn featured in my post ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’ – he defended Gordon Anglesea after Gordon Anglesea sued Private Eye after the Eye accused him of molesting boys in children’s homes in north Wales. Anglesea won the case and shortly after the trial Mark Humphreys, the young man whom had given evidence that Anglesea had abused him, was found dead. Last year Gordon Anglesea was convicted of abusing boys in north Wales children’s homes and imprisoned. Valerie – standing on the shoulders of greats! Indeed, it was onwards and upwards.

Although Valerie left the Cabinet when Gordon Brown became PM, her stellar career didn’t stop. In 2007 she became a Director of Travant Capital Partners, a Nigerian private equity firm. Poor old Valerie ended up mired in allegations of corruption when it was revealed that Travant Capital had received £15 million from DFID, the Gov’t Dept that she used to lead.  In his book ‘Catholic Orangemen of Tongo’, Straw’s nemesis Craig Murray claims that he was told by a Director of Travant that the company ‘had access to DFID funds because Baroness Amos was a Director’.

In 2007 Amos also became the EU’s representative to the African Union. In 2010 she was appointed Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-Ordination.

In addition to these plum appointments, Valerie has had numerous others – she was the British High Commissioner to Australia and in 2015 she was appointed Director of SOAS (University of London). She was the Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust 1990-98, a Trustee of the IPPR, was involved with project Hope (an NGO promoting healthcare), was a Trustee of VSO and was a Director of Hampstead Theatre. Guess what else? In Sept 2008 Amos Chaired the GMC’s Equality and Diversity Forum! She has also been a non-executive director of University College London Hospitals Trust and between 1994-98 she was Chair of the Board of Governors at the Royal College of Nursing Institute.

So like so many who have been closely associated with organisations in which children were sexually abused and exploited, Valerie Amos is a good friend of the Top Doctors and Angels. A number of people have noticed that throughout her career in the higher echelons of public life, Valerie Amos has not been democratically elected to one position, they were all ‘appointments’. Well considering that Lambeth Borough Council oversaw the worst excesses of child abuse and ended up in such a financial mess that many of it’s Councillors were banned from office, I very much doubt that anybody would vote for anyone who had played a key role in that Council.

 

Jack’s book mentions a close colleague of his who also knew all about the shortcomings of Lambeth Borough Council who has starred on this blog recently – Paul Boateng (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng And Tessa Jowell’). I have mentioned before that Paul’s wife Janet is a former Lambeth social worker. I have now read a bit more about the Tyra Henry case and Janet was involved up to her eye-balls. Tyra was a 22 month old girl who was murdered by her father Andrew in 1984. The case gained massive publicity because of the severe cruelty involved and the gross failings of Lambeth Borough Council. Tyra died two days after she had been left at a London hospital under a false name. She had suffered extreme physical abuse and there were 52 bite marks on her body. It transpired that her injuries had been inflicted by her father – Tyra had been allowed to live with him after he was released from prison, although there had previously been a decision not to allow this to happen. Before Tyra’s birth, her father had already assaulted her six month old brother, who was left blind and permanently brain damaged as a result of the attack – he was in care.  The Inquiry into Tyra’s death was led by Stephen Sedley QC – a colleague of Michael Mansfield and one of that generation of radical lawyers who did take on cases against the British state but who never seemed to be as outspoken as one would have expected about cases of abuse of children in care or the abuse of people in the mental health system.

In 1984 the Chair of Lambeth’s Social Services Committee was Janet Boateng. The Vice-Chair was Stephen Bubb. The aftermath of Tyra’s murder caused a massive rift between the Lambeth Councillors and the social workers employed by the Council (Janet of course had been in both positions.)  The Councillors and social workers both blamed each other for the dreadful state of the children’s services in Lambeth. It is reflective of the concerns of Lambeth Council at the time that the blame game wasn’t played out in terms of allegations of incompetence – it involved allegations of racism. Black Councillors maintained that white social workers were unable to work appropriately with black families and the white social workers made counter-allegations of not receiving ‘training’ and ‘support’ to work with black families. Where this left Janet Boateng who was black, a Councillor, Chairman of the Social Services Committee but had also worked as a social worker in the same Borough I do not know. I do know that it is ironic that the chaos and tragedy that presided in this Borough launched the careers of a group of people like Boateng and Amos, who were then lauded and honoured for their ‘services’ to equality and diversity. Amos’s biography is littered with references to her ‘firsts’ – the first black woman Cabinet Minister, the first black woman to become head of a UK university, one of the most influential black people in the UK etc. Whilst Amos and co played identity politics a little black girl was murdered – Tyra is not mentioned anywhere in the extensive guff about Lady Boateng or Lady Amos that is so readily available.

What was the fate of Boateng’s Vice-Chair, Stephen Bubb – a white man? Like the Ladies of Lambeth, Bubb has thrived. He is now Sir Stephen Bubb, Director of ‘Charity Futures’. His knighthood was awarded in 2011 for ‘services to the voluntary sector’.

Bubb describes himself as ‘influential in both the Labour and Conservative Parties’ with his ‘longstanding advocacy of charities replacing public services chiming with both parties’ policy of promoting competition and choice in areas such as healthcare’. Bubb has a website, ‘Bubb’s Blog’, and a recent post sees Bubb fuming angrily that the present Gov’t is ignoring the charity sector. I think that’s because of the embarrassment that was ‘Kid’s Company’ Stephen, it was a rather disillusioning process for those who promoted the idea of the ‘Big Society’. Bubb’s determined to ram his message home though, he’s very busy indeed working hard lobbying for the Third Sector. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ is currently hosting a ‘guest post’ by Henry Brook who is on ‘work experience’ with Bubb. Henry waxes lyrical about the global possibilities for the Third Sector and mentions that there’s a lot of wealthy people in China although Africa is still a bit too poor to participate in the jamboree.

Bubb is certainly a man who’s been on a political journey and who’ll work with anyone. In 1976 he was a research officer for the TGWU’s Jack Jones. In 1980 he was a negotiations officer for the NUT. Then there were his glorious achievements at Lambeth – Labour Party Member for Lambeth Borough Council from 1982 and Chief Whip to the Labour Group. In 1987 he was Lead Advisor concerning pay negotiations to the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (both Tessa Jowell and John Mills had positions on this body as well). In 1995 Stephen was Director of Personnel for the National Lottery Charity Board. Between 2000-06 he was Chief Exec for  ACEVO, the Association of Chief Execs of Voluntary Organisations. Since 2006 Stephen has been Chairman of the Adventure Capital Fund, a ‘social enterprise’ now administering ‘Communitybuilders’. He was Chairman of ‘Futurebuilders England’ in 2008. He founded ‘Charity Futures’ to ‘investigate the challenges to and provide support for the Third Sector for the next generation’ (does that translate as ‘my kids need a job now as well?’). In 2011 he was seconded to the Dept of Health as part of Andrew Lansley’s NHS ‘listening exercise’.

I haven’t actually researched all these different Third Sector organisations that Bubb has created – I know that’s remiss of me, but I suspect that I know what I will find. A very big gravy train, the passengers upon which will be other folk like Bubb, former Councillors from disastrous 80s Councils who did really well for themselves once Blair became PM and are still prospering as no-one dares mention the phrase ‘The King’s New Clothes’ now that they have been given gongs and been put in charge of so many things. Bubb became notorious for defending big salaries in the charity sector – he was paid in excess of £100k pa at ACEVO. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ tells us that he is ‘globally recognised’ and provides ‘strategic advice to Governments and businesses usually at Prime Minister, Minister, Mayor and Chairman level’. Bubb is Secretary General of the ‘European Third Sector Leaders Network’, which was ‘founded through his passion and drive’.

So what brought this globally-recognised-advisor-to-Prime Ministers’ career in local government to an end back in the 80s then? Lambeth Borough Council was one of the councils that refused to set a rate during the rate capping row with Margaret Thatcher’s Gov’t. Therefore the Councillors were surcharged for causing the Council financial loss through wilful misconduct. They were sacked and disqualified from office in 1986. Not that it held Stephen back from sitting in judgement on others – between 1980 and 2000 he served as a Youth Court Magistrate in Inner London.

Bubb has also dabbled with the Top Doctors – he was a member of the Local Health Boards of Guy’s Hospital and St Tommy’s Hospital.

Bubb found himself in the spotlight in 2013 when he held his 60th birthday party. I wouldn’t have thought that a birthday party could cause a diplomatic incident, but Bubb held a bash at the House of Lords with a number of cabinet ministers, Baronesses, media folk and charity leaders. They all had a great time and went back to Stephen’s place afterwards for champagne and fireworks. Stephen was particularly chuffed to receive a birthday card from Tony and Cherie. It was subsequently revealed that Stephen’s party had cost a great deal of money and that the bill had been footed not entirely by Stephen – although he is a very well-paid man – but partly by ACEVO. When questioned, ACEVO maintained that it was money well-spent because the party was ‘part of it’s [ACEVO’s] on-going work in building stakeholder relationships’.

The guest who made the welcoming speech at Stephen’s party – that was partly funded by people who were duped into believing that they were supporting charitable work – was Baroness Hayter. Dianne Hayter is the Deputy Leader of the Lords and is described as a ‘powerful advocate’ for the Third Sector. She is an old friend of Stephen’s from their Young Fabians days and was a founder member of ACEVO herself, whilst she was Director of ‘Alcohol Concern’. Bet she’s a mate of Tony and Cherie’s as well. Dianne is married to Professor David Caplin who works at Imperial College. David Caplin is a physicist – perhaps they have a bit more integrity than the Top Doctors at Imperial.

Whilst trumpeting the wonders of the Third Sector, Stephen tells us on his blog that ‘state provision often neglects the consumer or beneficiary’. That Stephen is because it was so often run by people like you and Janet Boateng – you neglected the beneficiary to such an extent that a little girl was murdered and even then you tried to tart it up as a race relations problem. The charity sector is now blighted with exactly the same problems as the state sector – because you lot have now moved in and colonised that. Stephen mentions on his blog that ‘more than a third of mental health services are provided by charities’. Yes and the leading story on all the news programmes today has been the scandalous state of the nation’s mental health services. This morning it was revealed that thousands of mental health patients are spending YEARS in hospital after they have been deemed to be fit for discharge because there is no accommodation for them and at lunchtime it was reported that Sir James Munby, the head of the Family Court, has been unable to find suitable psychiatric care for a suicidal teenaged girl. Munby has sated that if care for her cannot be found ‘society will have blood on it’s hands’. You obviously haven’t noticed Sir James – society has been awash with the blood of the mentally ill for decades. And you’ve only just woken up to it. No doubt Paul Farmer and Marjorie Wallace will pop up on the ‘Today’ programme tomorrow to give us all a lecture about the horrors of people remaining in hospital for years because of a lack of accommodation. Well why haven’t they mentioned it before? The rest of us knew that it was happening – in fact I e mailed a number of politicians about this some three years ago….

 

Many years ago a book was published called something like ‘The Court of The Blairs’ which was an account of some of the rather shallow, dysfunctional people lining their own nests who surrounded Tony and Cherie. Valerie Amos, Janet Boateng and Stephen Bubb are pretty good examples of the outer circle. (Blair’s inner circle was comprised of the likes of Silvio of course…)

 

Somebody else who might be able to enlighten us all regarding what was going on in Lambeth at the time of Tyra’s murder is a man whose name crops up in reports of the case from that time – the Chair of the British Association of Social Workers Southwark, John Wheeler. John Wheeler is now based in the north east of England – I suspect like some others who were previously associated with Lambeth, he’s air-brushed that bit out of his CV – and doubles up as ‘John Wheeler Solutions Ltd’. He has a website that bangs on about him having experience in ‘solution focussed’ practice and expertise in ‘training and development’. The site mentions his ‘thirty years experience as a social worker/family therapist’ and tells us that he has ‘co-developed a model for complex child protection issues’. Wheeler is a visiting lecturer in solution focussed practice, systemic practice and narrative therapy at the following Universities: Northumbria, Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Teeside. He teaches on the following courses: social work, psychology nursing, systemic practice and child protection.

John has published too – in ‘Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry’, on brief solution focussed therapy. The Hergest Unit used to offer that – Brown observed that it will certainly be brief but there won’t be many solutions. There weren’t many solutions for the therapist either. He was a nurse with a PhD who had been told by the North West Wales NHS Trust to pass himself off as a clinical psychologist. One of the many patients whom the Hergest Unit tried to frame for a crime that she didn’t commit found out about this and complained. The therapist was subsequently sacked – not for false representation, because the Trust had forced him into that, but for allegedly having a relationship with a patient. The therapist knew a friend of mine and his story was that he had actually only begun a relationship with the patient a year after she had been discharged after meeting her again at a party. But Ysbyty Gwynedd were smarting with embarrassment that they’d been caught misrepresenting the status and qualifications of their staff, so he was the scapegoat.

Like the esteemed Professors Poole and Robinson of Bangor University, John Wheeler has been paying visits to India to dispense his pearls of wisdom. He’s also been popping over to Poland to show them how it’s done. John’s website is advertising an ‘online certificate of competence’. He has helpfully provided diagrams and instructions concerning how to fold and read your certificate of competence if you’re too incompetent to work out how to do it.

I really do recommend a visit to John’s website. It can be summed up by one phrase – ‘Clare In The Community’.

John’s website doesn’t only detail his expertise regarding focussing on solutions. He plays in a ceilidh band and also recommends singing as a way to deal with stress and to bond with other people.

One has to be careful if one’s a service user and one does a bit of singing though. Some years ago there was a young man who was a patient at the Hergest Unit – he suffered from bouts of severe depression – who had two young children. His first baby was a girl and he was delighted – a couple of years later his wife became pregnant again and this time he thought that it would be really great if they could have a boy, one of each. His wife gave birth to a little boy and the day after the birth, this young man took his little girl for a walk in Snowdonia. He was so happy about the birth of his second child that he was singing. He was stopped by a policeman and interrogated regarding who the little girl with him was – on the grounds that he might not be suitable to be responsible for a little girl, what with him being a singing service user. The incident caused quite a furore, because his fuming wife contacted the local media. Both she and her husband gave interviews regarding the idiocy of a young father being stopped by the police because he was singing in the woods. About ten years after this incident, the young man sadly became ill with depression again and killed himself. I knew his wife – she told me that it was heartbreaking, both she and he knew that he was becoming very depressed again but they didn’t know why. There was no help forthcoming from the Hergest Unit – by this time the day centre had been closed and Alun Davies et al had just about destroyed ‘the service’ completely. But at least north Wales was crawling with those experts in suicide prevention that I have previously blogged about and dear old David Healy was making regular media appearances.

Someone else whom Jack Straw will know who has knowledge of the insanity at Lambeth is Lord Herman Ouseley, the former Chair and Chief Exec of the Commission for Racial Equality 1993-2000.  Before he made his career in ‘equality and diversity’, Herman was Chief Exec of ILEA and Chief Exec of Lambeth! (Herman has removed all references to Lambeth from his wiki entry, but he was very much there.) Herman has been at the ‘forefront of challenging institutional racism in organisations’. Like so many of his contemporaries who were involved in running the car crash at Lambeth, Herman is now a management consultant advising on equality and diversity issues. It was Herman who introduced Paul Boateng, husband of Janet, to the Lords when Boateng was given a peerage.

Following hot on the heels of Herman as the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality was Gurbux Singh. Sing hadn’t worked for Lambeth but he had been just about everywhere else that managed to disgrace itself in the 1980s – the GLC, Hackney, Brent and Haringey. Gurbux ended up as Chief Exec of Haringey Council and he was there at the time that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones rang them up to have a word with them about me when Dafydd discovered that I would be living there after I left the North Wales Hospital Denbigh! Gurbux – how did you know a crazed old bugger in north Wales who was concealing a paedophile ring? Gurbux was a member of Jack Straw’s Race Relations Forum when Straw was Home Secretary and was also an advisor to the Association of London Government and a member of our old friend the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. No doubt Gurbux would have been elevated to the Lords by Blair as well if only he hadn’t come unstuck at a cricket match in 2002 by getting pissed, threatening a policeman and getting himself arrested. The incident caused him to resign from the CRE. This wasn’t because of the drunkenness or the arrest, it was because Singh told the policeman that he (Singh) knew Ian Blair the Deputy Commissioner of the Met – now Lord Blair, a big mate of another man called Blair – and would have the policeman sacked.

Yet another old lag who made a career out of her ‘expertise’ in equality and diversity was Judith Hunt. Judith used to edit the GLC magazine ‘Equalities’. Judith is now Judith Hunt OBE and runs an outfit called ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’. She is of course an ‘executive coach’ and ‘consultant’ ‘working across the sectors’ dispensing advice on ‘diversity and equalities’. She is a Board Member for Transport for London and a Member of the Audit Committee there.

Judith’s previous positions include: National Officer and Assistant General Secretary of ‘a national trade union’ (she doesn’t say which one, so presumably there’s been a bit of trouble there); Director of Personnel at the GLC; Chief Exec at London Borough of Ealing for 7 years; Chief Exec of Local Gov’t Management Board 1993-99; Chair of Camden and Islington Health Authority 2000-02; Chair, London Health Observatory 2002-06.

Come on Judith, with a CV like that you’ll have known something about the abuse of children and the associated cover-up by the Top Doctors.

Judith was a Board Member of the CPS, 2002-05. The CPS that could not explain why it did not prosecute Greville Janner and numerous other high profile child abusers – including the dozens in north Wales against whom there was substantial evidence. Judith is now a non-executive director of the CPS and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. She has contributed to the delivery of the CPS Diversities strategy.

Judith has also contributed to the Civil Service Commission and the ESRC Research Priorities Board – so that’s why the ESRC does what it’s told by the Gov’t, even when the agenda is obviously so lame!

People actually pay Judith for her advice – including the NHS and Dept of Health.

The website of ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’ is well worth a visit as they used to say on ‘Blue Peter’, because one can click on the various people who assist in her consultancy. They are all as equally vacuous as Judith and use very similar phrases to describe their work, phrases which are actually meaningless. Judith curiously claims to carry out ‘health checks’. Which is seriously weird, because I don’t think that she’s a Top Doctor, even if the NHS and DoH are wasting good money on her ‘advice’.

Another former leader of Lambeth (1986-88) who could answer a few questions is Linda Bellos – she too is now a management consultant, ‘Linda Bellos Associates’ – in equalities and diversity, although Linda specialises in LGBT issues. Linda was one of the Lambeth Councillors who resigned over the rate capping saga – and I think that she was the leader when the Council finally imploded. Linda has advised the British Army, the Met, the CPS and the Association of Chief Police Officers!

 

So there we have it, a bunch of people who ran the most dangerous, chaotic Councils in England – whose children’s services were pervaded by paedophiles – many of whom ended up being disqualified from office and who effectively bankrupted their authorities. Who better for Blair to elevate to the Lords and appoint to lead Gov’t Commissions, advise the NHS, the police, the CPS etc on ‘equality’? It was after all only the most disadvantaged children in the country who suffered and died in the ‘services’ that they ran.

There are two other people who might be able to answer questions as well, although they are not friends of Tony and Cherie. One is Ted Knight, who was leader of Lambeth Borough Council from 1978. Ted was disqualified from office but for many years remained active in Unite. However, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Ted announced his re-entry into politics and he’s now busy in Lambeth once more. The other is a man called John McDonnell, who was involved in the GLC and hung around a lot with Ted and co. This John McDonnell will know something. I wonder where he is now…

 

NB. I heard on the news earlier that Rogue Top Doctor Ian Paterson has had his prison sentence increased. The judge who increased it made a speech about a shocking breach of trust, how could any Top Doctor ever behave in such a way etc etc. I’ve got news for Lady Justice Hallett – plenty of them are capable of doing so. After all I’ve got 10,000 documents showing that scores of them concealed a paedophile ring and tried to have me imprisoned by perjuring themselves. No doubt when Paterson is eventually released, the GMC will put him back on the register and double his pension pot to compensate for his lost earnings whilst he was inside. There has also been a GP in east London arrested for numerous sexual assaults on patients. Is that the sound of loud snoring that I can still hear coming from the direction of north Wales?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet More Crime And Punishment

The Daily Post Online today is running one of it’s regular shock horror stories regarding that which the hard pressed staff of the Betsi have to tolerate as they go about their daily heroics: ‘Sexual Abuse, Violent Attacks and Verbal Insults – The Crimes North Wales NHS Staff Suffer’. The article explains that ‘new figures reveal the extent of the appalling offences committed against NHS workers’. We are told that NHS staff in north Wales have been ‘attacked’ more than 7000 times since 2012, according to ‘shocking figures’ released as a result of an FoI request. In 2013 there were 1929 incidents and over the next three years there were more than 1700 incidents each year.

It sounds terrible doesn’t it. But these thousands of incidents do not represent the numbers of convictions – they are figures supplied by the Betsi, not the police. Neither have they been confirmed by any other body. I happen to know that the Betsi employs a very elastic definition when it uses the phrase ‘attack on a member of staff’. The statistics for such ‘attacks’ include instances of psychotic or learning disabled patients swearing – not even necessarily swearing AT staff, but merely swearing in their presence. It is entirely at the discretion of Betsi staff whether they report ‘attacks’ on them and some of those staff are known to be reporting the most trivial of incidences – particularly if the patient involved has made a complaint. I know of staff employed in the Hergest Unit who were routinely complaining of being ‘attacked’ by patients as a means of getting themselves out of trouble when the staff themselves were the subject of complaint. I know of a number of patients – including me – who were accused of ‘assaulting’ or ‘attacking’ staff after they had complained about being assaulted by staff themselves. Most of these complaints involved the same staff. Furthermore I have compared my own medical records with the records of some of the patients who contacted me after they too had been wrongly accused – the same phrases had been used about all of us by the same staff. Those staff were working to a script. In no case that I know of were the staff involved disciplined – yet there was complaint after complaint about them.

The problems with certain members of staff in the Hergest Unit reached a peak in the years before the North West Wales NHS Trust was abolished, when Keith Thomson and then Martin Jones were CEOs there. (Details of the violence and aggression that I encountered and that I witnessed other patients being subjected to can be read in my posts ‘Who Is In Need Of Restraining?’ and ‘The Real Story Behind These Figures…’.) Both Thomson and Jones were constantly briefing local newspapers about the problems of staff being attacked by mad psychiatric patients – they were undoubtedly doing this because a number of patients were consulting lawyers and writing to politicians after having been violently assaulted by staff in the Hergest Unit. A now retired member of staff from Hergest told me that they were convinced that evidence against some patients who had dared complain had been fabricated and that some patients had been wrongly convicted as a result.

There is one former member of staff from Hergest who was a willing accomplice in all of this – a nurse called Gareth Phillips. Gareth retired from nursing as a result of ill health, but was offered the post of RCN rep. It was Gareth who was happy to provide comments to local papers about the shocking number of attacks on Ysbyty Gwynedd staff. I knew Gareth for years whilst he still worked as a nurse – I never witnessed Gareth abuse anyone himself, but he certainly knew that some of his colleagues were behaving appallingly. And he knew that some patients were being arrested and fitted up for offences that they had not committed, after hospital staff had lied to the police. Furthermore Gareth knew that this had happened to me. Someone else knew about this as well – Gareth’s wife Penny, who also worked as a nurse at the Hergest Unit. I have mentioned in previous posts how under the regimes of Keith Thomson and Martin Jones, there was an exodus of the better staff from Hergest. I met one of those people after they had escaped to work in another part of the Trust and they told me that both they and their spouse (who was also a nurse) had been stuffed over and forced out of their jobs – interestingly enough after one of them warned the authorities at Ysbyty Gwynedd that the conduct of staff towards the patients was making the Hergest Unit unsafe. This person remarked that the Trust however had ‘looked after’ Gareth Phillips when he became too ill to work, by giving him a job as RCN rep. This person also mentioned that the Trust ‘looked after’ Bob Ingham when Ingham became too ill to work. Ingham was a notoriously aggressive CPN with the Arfon Community Mental Health Team – on my first meeting with him he dragged me down a corridor after telling me that he was someone else and I know of another patient who was threatened with assault in his own home by Ingham when Ingham was making a ‘home visit’. So Keith and Martin were ‘looking after’ staff who agreed to keep silent about abuse and produce propaganda for the media and even staff who were abusive themselves. The people who did not get looked after were staff raising concerns about the level of aggression to which patients were subjected. Martin Jones is at present the Director of Workforce for the Betsi. Are we surprised that florid figures about attacks on Angels are still being bandied about?

If the figures being produced were accurate, anyone spending any length of time in any of the hospitals run by the Betsi would have witnessed at least one of these ‘attacks’. I have spent much time in their hospitals – the only thing that I ever witnessed that came anywhere near to an ‘attack’ was an acutely psychotic patient throwing a book at a psychiatrist which hit him in the face. Even that incident could probably have been avoided if the psychiatrist concerned, the dreadful Raj Sambhi, had built up any sort of rapport with his patients. He didn’t – he walked onto the ward for twenty minutes once a week and spoke arrogantly to distressed patients who barely knew who he was. With the exception of that incident I have never witnessed any patient physically attack any member of staff. I have witnessed an awful lot of rudeness towards members of staff, I have witnessed patients shout and swear at members of staff – but as with Sambhi and the book, many of those incidents were obviously a result of patients being treated very disrespectfully themselves. I have asked other people who have spent a long time in hospitals in north Wales if they have ever seen ‘attacks’ on staff and they haven’t either. One of them, like me, had witnessed an assault on a patient in the Hergest Unit by staff, but had only ever witnessed disorientated or distressed patients shouting or swearing at staff.

The Post article includes a comment from Gwenfair Jones, a Wrexham County Councillor who worked as a community nurse for twenty years before she retired two years ago. Gwenfair states that ‘it’s terrifying to think of the risks that NHS staff face every day at work’. She then relates an account of how a colleague was responding to a patient when someone tried to get in her car and having failed to do that, jumped on the bonnet. Gwenfair doesn’t state that it was the patient who did this, so presumably it was someone else – who actually might have been confused or distressed rather than out to attack the car driver… There is simply not enough info from that anecdote to suggest that it is an example of the terror that NHS staff face every day as a result of their work.

Gwenfair also mentions that when the NHS followed it’s lone working policy, staff were issued with alarms. Well I know of a situation in which the issuing of a piece of equipment to be used as an ‘alarm’ was ruthlessly used by the managers of the Gwynedd Hospitals NHS Trust and their partners in crime in the Arfon Community Mental Health Team in an attempt to frame a patient. In the mid-1990s I was prosecuted at the insistence of Gwynedd Hospitals NHS Trust for allegedly making an obscene and threatening telephone call to Bridget Lloyd, a CPN with the Arfon Team. I did not make this call. Florid statements were made about me to the police by Bridget Lloyd about her being terrified of me, indeed so frightened that the Trust had issued her with a mobile phone to carry with her when she went out in order to enable her to ring for help should she meet me and I attack her. There was also a statement made in Court by the Trust that I represented such a risk to Bridget and her ‘two young children’ that the Trust had organised a safe house for them should I be found not guilty. I did not even know that Bridget Lloyd had young children. I was found not guilty. Whether dear old Bridget and the kids then took up residence in the safe house I do not know, but when I requested an apology for being denied access to NHS hospitals during the course of this malicious case I was told very firmly that I would not be receiving an apology. A few months ago my lawyer forwarded me the documentation relating to this case. Among all the documents was a memo that Bridget Lloyd had written herself to her managers saying that she had only met me once or twice, that it was many years ago and that she was sure that if I saw her I would not recognise her. That memo was written before the case against me went ahead – it was also written at about the same time as her statement about the risk that I presented to her and her children and how she was ‘absolutely terrified’ of me.

Bridget didn’t mention on the memo the circumstances in which she had met me years previously. I met Bridget Lloyd when I had been illegally detained in Seiriol Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd after I refused to drop my requests for a copy of my medical records. Bridget was the nurse in charge of the ward. I challenged Bridget over my illegal detention, as well as over the threats that I had received from Alun Davies, the manager of the mental health services – and over the mistreatment of other patients that I was witnessing. Bridget told me that ‘someone’ had decided that I ‘should be here’ and that no-one was being abused or illegally detained. Yes they were Bridget and you knew it. Now, off down to the police station with you to provide a statement giving the details of who it was who ordered you to perjure yourself in court in an attempt to secure a conviction against me.

The article in the Post makes a reference to the case of a man called Christopher Bambrough, who was jailed some months ago after ‘threatening to knock out a nurse’ at Wrexham Maelor. Sounds nasty doesn’t it. The facts of the case are that Bambrough had gone to Wrexham Maelor seeking help for mental health problems but had been refused such help and had been told to go and make an appointment with his GP. He became distressed and shouted a few rash comments that people were going to get hurt. OK, so a man whom it is admitted had mental health problems went for help – and was effectively told to piss off. Knowing just how damn near impossible it is to now access mental health care in north Wales I can imagine how desperate and frustrated that man probably was. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had made umpteen visits to his GP and the local hospitals trying to get help – I have witnessed people doing this and it is quite clear that there is no way that they will get treatment. Because the mental health services are no longer permitted to refuse to assess or treat people, the technique used in north Wales is now to send them from pillar to post, around and around in circles, with everybody refusing to treat them and telling them to see someone else.

So who was it who imprisoned a mentally ill desperate man for shouting a few rash things in the direction of the Angels? It was Judge Niclas Parry, who when he was merely solicitor advocate Niclas Parry, represented one of the most vicious of the paedophiles at the Waterhouse Inquiry (see post ‘This Is What Happened To Nicola, Niclas, Merfyn, Joan and Kathryn’ for details of Parry’s glorious career, his shameful role in the Waterhouse Inquiry and his kid-glove handling of two other people involved in organised crime). Parry told Brambrough that ‘hospital staff will be protected by the Courts’. Yes, along with paedophiles and drug dealers thanks to Old Nick being on the bench.

Daily Post Online makes reference to the police ‘having to be’ called out to ‘attacks on staff’ 591 times in the last five years. I wonder what the opinion of the police is regarding those call outs – because when I still lived in north Wales I was told quite frankly by a police officer that they were sick to death of the Hergest calling them out to deal with trivial situations that the staff should be dealing with themselves. But this has been happening for decades. When Dafydd Alun Jones et al first began having me arrested in the 80s there was an officer called Sgt Tim Evans who was known to be telling people that the whole situation was farcical – a bunch of pompous braying consultants were on the one hand telling Sgt Evans and his colleagues that they were ‘experts’ and Had To Be Listened To, but on the other hand were ringing the police on an almost daily basis because I was refusing to drop my complaints about the mental health services and continued requesting copies of my own records. I was told that Sgt Evans noted just how much more than the police that bunch of fuckwits were being paid yet were demanding that the police clear up their mess. As an example of the sort of thing that the Top Doctors were doing, I have in my possession a document which is a copy of a letter written by Top Doctor Sadie Francis, backed up by her mate from the Arfon Team the appalling social worker Sheila Jenkins, complaining about me walking into a room at Ysbyty Gwynedd ‘carrying a rolled up newspaper’. Francis and Jenkins demanded that the police be called in case I was ‘concealing a knife’ in the newspaper.  I could have been storing weapons grade plutonium in the rolled up newspaper but I wasn’t – these crazy allegations with absolutely no grounds were being bandied around about me (and a number of other patients) constantly.

The Betsi told the Daily Post that their staff receive ‘violence and aggression training’ and ‘de-escalation’ training. That ‘training’ leaves a lot to be desired. It is delivered by staff who have learnt their own aggression at the knee of the north Wales mental health services – for many years, the man who ‘trained’ the local Angels in ‘control and restraint’ was a nurse from the North Wales Hospital, the institution in which victims of the North Wales Paedophile Ring were illegally imprisoned. More latterly the ‘training’ was delivered by the dreadful Alison Parry, the highly abusive nurse responsible for running the highly abusive Taliesin Ward. I have watched the Angels from the Hergest Unit use their ‘training’ – it involves jumping on patients from a height for no good reason and pinning them to the floor for twenty minutes. As for ‘de-escalation’ – well after Alun Davies, the former manager of the Hergest Unit, refused to answer questions from either me or my lawyer regarding Parry and co carrying out assaults on me, I asked Davies in person when he was going to reply to my lawyer’s letters. He stood in a corridor at Hergest and bellowed ‘shut up’ at me repeatedly. My lawyer suggested to him that this was rather unacceptable and she received a letter from Davies saying that he was using ‘de-escalation techniques’ and that they were so good that a psychiatrist had complimented him on them. I can only presume that the Top Doctor in question was actually taking the piss out of him, but Davies was far too thick to realise.

In addition to boasting about the ‘training’ that their staff receive, the Betsi told the Post that all three of their District General Hospitals have police and security on site. I have known some of the ‘police on site’ at Ysbyty Gwynedd. One of them was really good, a very nice man with an excellent relationship with the patients. This however was ruined because the Hergest staff kept telling him to threaten to arrest the patients, instead of allowing him to talk to them. On one occasion this resulted in him having to threaten to arrest a young female psychiatric patient in the locked ward at Hergest because she kept dialling 999. Yes, the Hergest staff wanted a psychotic teenager taken out of a locked ward where she was sectioned anyway, arrested and charged for dialling 999 for bizarre reasons. That policeman ended up leaving that post – and I can see why. After he left he was replaced by a Scouse Thug who threatened me over the phone when I rang the hospital to inform them that I would be attending the hospital in person to deliver a statement from a third party who had witnessed hospital staff lie about me in order to have me arrested. I’m sure that the authorities at YG thought that the Scouse Thug did a great job.

As well as on site police and security, a Betsi spokesperson also explained to the Daily Post that they employ a ‘violence and aggression case manager’. Yes, I’ve heard about this person – they’re the one whom I was told actively encourages staff to demand that patients are prosecuted even if staff don’t want to press charges. Interestingly enough, the Betsi spokesperson does admit to the Daily Post that it is ‘important to recognise’ that the figures provided ‘may not reflect the actions of some patients who may not intend to be deliberately aggressive and may act in this way by extent of their conditions’. So that’s them fessing up then. But nonetheless they were still happy to release these ludicrous misleading figures – which even they admit aren’t a true reflection of the situation.

Intriguingly, the Betsi states that there is a National Memorandum of Understanding across Wales between the police, the CPS and the NHS on how to ‘support staff’ following incidents of violence. Readers who have followed my posts about the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal and the associated cover-up will remember that it involved the police, the CPS and the NHS…Those bodies understand each other very well in north Wales – and if Old Nick is on the bench, there’s even more understanding…

People who have been following this blog for a while will also remember my posts describing the scores of errors, fallacious allegations and downright lies that I discovered entered upon my medical records. Highlights include entries that I ‘had held a nurse hostage’, ‘was in prison after attacking someone with a knife’ and had ‘sexually assaulted a psychiatrist’. What’s the betting that these lurid allegations have added to the statistics that the Betsi have made up? Despite protracted correspondence with Gary Doherty, the CEO of the Betsi, I have been unable to persuade them to remove the dozens of lies from my records. Gary did agree to remove the references to me sexually assaulting a psychiatrist because he admitted that never happened – I note that Gary did not carry out any investigation into how these gross slur ever found it’s way onto my records and that no-one was disciplined for writing it. Gary has refused to amend anything else – although I can prove that the comments are not true – on the grounds that his staff told him that these things had happened and thus they must have happened. Furthermore Gary is now stating that twenty years worth of my records don’t exist because he can’t find them. I have copies here with me which my lawyer obtained previously, but no, according to Gary those records don’t exist.

How can anyone believe any statistics at all collected by this bunch of lying dipsticks?

Another former star of this blog featured in the Post article – Tina Donnelly, the Director of the RCN in Wales. Tina warns that these attacks on NHS staff affect recruitment. No Tina, what is affecting recruitment in the Betsi is the dreadful standard of care that is known to exist up there – good nurses do not want to work with negligent abusive people – and the brutal treatment of whistleblowers. The nurse who blew the whistle on the Tawel Fan scandal was sacked, wrongfully arrested after being subjected to malicious allegations and has received death threats. The staff who abused the patients in Tawel Fan were subjected to no disciplinary action at all. Donnelly has sat in the RCN throughout scandal after scandal in north Wales – including Tawel Fan – and has done nothing to take action against her members who are abusing their positions. I have read plenty of her semi-literate articles in the Welsh media demanding higher salaries for her members, or indeed banging on about the way in which they spend every waking hour at work being viciously attacked by unhinged patients, but I have not yet read any condemnation from her concerning poor standards of care on the part of some Angels. Indeed Donnelly seems to be quite close to two particularly unpleasant Angels employed at Ysbyty Gwynedd A&E – Stephen Gallagher and Andrew Parry. Please read post ‘Two Dangerous Very Dishonest Nurses’ for details of Gallagher and Parry’s lies, threats and dishonesty. Donnelly ‘serves’ in the Territorial Army along with Gallagher and Parry. For further details of Donnelly’s contacts and questionable background, see post ‘Oh To Be In Receipt Of Academic Honours’.

At the end of the article, the Daily Post chips in with their ‘opinion’. The Post maintains that ‘people join the NHS because they care…good decent human beings who want to make a difference…the vast majority of them aren’t in it for the money…these same decent people are routinely subjected to violence and verbal abuse – sometimes racist or sexual… [the offenders] should forfeit their right to free NHS treatment in the future…’

Now most people do indeed join the NHS for the right reasons – but there is a very big problem in north Wales. Until very recently a vicious paedophile ring operated throughout the region and it was concealed and facilitated by the mental health services. A lot of the people involved are still working in the mental health services – indeed one of them is the Chairman of the Betsi – and this has left a toxic legacy. These were not ‘caring’ ‘decent’ people and furthermore they were not subjected to violence and verbal abuse, they lied on oath in order to discredit people who were complaining about their own malpractice and abuse. They are using the same techniques now in a desperate attempt to detract from the train wreck that is the NHS in north Wales. I will remind the Daily Post of what happened at Tawel Fan – elderly patients were found to be crawling around naked on floors covered in faeces and urine; one patient had an untreated broken arm; staff swore at patients, trapped them in their beds by placing furniture on top of them and discussed their sex lives. Some of those patients died as a result of the neglect and abuse that they endured. The ward was shut down and the Board was placed in special measures after the Welsh Gov’t admitted institutional abuse of patients. It was the worst mental health scandal in recent years in the UK. And which newspaper carried ‘interviews’ with those staff, interviews in which staff insulted the patients and their relatives? The Daily Post.

Until the 1990s, people working in and managing children’s homes in north Wales were believed to be kindly avuncular folk working for modest salaries looking after ‘tearaways’, ‘naughty boys’, ‘disturbed teenagers’, ‘young thugs’, ‘streetwise kids’ or ‘criminals’. We now know that they were actually starving, beating and raping those kids before forcing them into prostitution and delivering them to the Westminster Paedophile Ring. When those kids told people what was happening to them they were discussed in exactly the same terms that the Post is using to discuss people whom they believe are ‘attacking’ noble selfless NHS staff.

As for people forfeiting their right to free NHS treatment – there are at present people in north Wales, particularly people with mental health problems, who CANNOT access the care that they need and to which they are legally entitled. Sometimes this is because the ‘service’ has collapsed and doesn’t exist to provide treatment, but a number of people have been subjected to a co-ordinated campaign to ensure that they will not be treated under any circumstances – because they complained about a fucking paedophile gang.

As for staff not being in it for the money – no many of them are not. But some undoubtedly are. This blog has exposed a number of scams being runs by NHS staff and those scams have been designed to line their own pockets. It is difficult to find highly paid work in north Wales and no-one but the Betsi is going to pay Martin Jones and his ilk £130,000 pa and Martin knows it. Which is why he is still sitting on that Board after years of disaster wearing cufflinks that cost as much as some people earn in a week. Martin with his rather poor degree (you weren’t up to much when you were at Bangor University were you Martin), Martin who is rumoured to have failed accountancy exams, Martin with his Mickey Mouse qualification in ‘Innovation and Change’, Martin who when he was CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust flew first class to America on NHS expenses and lived it up with his mates for no good reason. Martin is most definitely in it for the money.

Although the Post article is about the NHS in north Wales, there is a link to an interview with someone employed by Cardiff and Vale UHB. That’s the Cardiff and Vale UHB that employs a consultant gynaecologist who many years ago was frozen out of the London circle because he was a relentless sexual harasser (see post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’).

Newsflash: Just appeared on the Daily Post website – a female paramedic with the Welsh Ambulance Service in north Wales has been convicted of assaulting another young woman. The ‘caring’ ‘decent’ NHS worker had ‘trained’ in the Army Medical Corps. Probably alongside Donnelly, Gallagher and Parry. She’s been travelling around in the back of an ambulance in a green jumpsuit for the last two years whilst the likes of the Daily Post told us that she was some sort of superior being.

As for all this talk of ‘decent’ people, in the early 1990s I attempted to enter Menai Bridge police station to make a complaint about a Top Doctor – one of those who was facilitating the paedophile ring – threatening me. What can only be described as a Ginger Pig in a sergeants uniform confronted me and told me that if I entered the police station he would arrest me. I told him that I had been threatened and I wished to make a statement. The Ginger Pig told me that he was here to protect ‘decent’ people like the Top Doctor and if I didn’t get out of Menai Bridge immediately he’d arrest me. He then pursued me as far as the Menai Suspension Bridge insulting me and told me to do everyone a favour and throw myself off the bridge. When I got home I rang Menai Bridge police station in an attempt to discover the identity of the Ginger Pig. Another policeman answered – whom I knew, because I had met him previously in Bangor Police Station after the Top Doctors had of course had me arrested. He was called Kelvin, he was nothing like the Ginger Pig himself, but he would not tell me the name of the Ginger Pig and he wouldn’t take down a complaint about him. On another occasion I tried to make representation about the Top Doctors and their harassment to an inspector in Bangor Police Station, an Inspector Beedham. As with Kelvin, Inspector Beedham didn’t conduct himself in the manner of the Ginger Pig, but no, he wouldn’t take a complaint about the Top Doctors either.

Sgt Tim Evans, Kelvin and Inspector Beedham all witnessed what was happening to me at the hands of the Top Doctors and Gwynedd Social Services. I now have possession of the documents that demonstrate that the Top Doctors et al perjured themselves repeatedly and ordered their minions to perjure themselves repeatedly, in order to conceal a paedophile ring. Come on Tim, Kelvin and Inspector Beedham, get your statements prepared and can you tell us who the Ginger Pig was as well….

 

I have mentioned in this post and in previous posts just how serious the wrongdoing of staff in the Hergest Unit and Ysbyty Gwynedd A&E was – unlawfully refusing people treatment, threatening patients, assaulting patients, lying to the police about patients, lying on oath, encouraging others to lie on oath etc. I have detailed how Alun Davies, Keith Thomson and later on Martin Jones simply did not investigate complaints (not just mine either – I knew of others who had terrible experiences whose complaints were never ever investigated). After Thomson wasted months of my and my lawyer’s time in a deliberate attempt not to investigate a series of assaults on me by his staff and their malicious allegations about me to the police, I tried the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. At that time the Ombudsman for Wales was Adam Peat. Getting a response out of Peat to my complaint was like pulling teeth, so in the end I rang his office. I didn’t speak to Peat himself, I spoke to his sidekick – who was either a Gethin or a Geraint, I can’t remember which. And guess what – he insulted and then threatened me. Just like the NMC did when I tried to make representation to them about Sian Ruth Lloyd’s misconduct. Now I was getting pretty used to this sort of behaviour from the Top Doctors and Angels, but this was the Ombudsman’s office…

Shortly after my brush with Adam Peat’s sidekick, I received a reply from Adam himself. He had decided that he wasn’t going to investigate my complaint against the North West Wales NHS Trust. Not in the public interest. (This was at a time when the North West Wales NHS Trust had the second highest suicide rate among women in England and Wales.) I mentioned this later to a Welsh politician who was honest enough to tell me that there was a major problem with the Ombudsman’s office, in that Peat was choosing not to investigate an awful lot of very serious complaints. I now have the documentation relating to that period of time – evidence of perjury and perverting the course of justice, the altering of medical records, a forged document allegedly written by me found in the possession of the GMC, evidence of dishonesty on the part of the Mental Health Act Commission, the illegal interference with my record on the Police National Computer and the forging of a certificate of indictment on the part of the Courts among much other wrongdoing.

Looks like Adam had knowingly ignored some very, very serious stuff.

Adam Peat retired as the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales in April 2008. His final report before he retired covered the period 2007/08. This report showed that despite a 10% increase in complaints that year, the number upheld by the Ombudsman remained roughly the same. Out of 1420 complaints, Peat only upheld – either whole or in part – 139. He did not investigate 975 complaints. Of the complaints that Peat did uphold, 19 became public interest reports. So Peat was ignoring an awful lot of problems – and nearly all the 1420 complaints will have been a result of very serious problems because one cannot approach the Ombudsman until one has exhausted all other avenues of complaint and even then there are so many hurdles to overcome that no-one would ever get as far as the Ombudsman unless they had a real grievance.

So who was Peat, the man who decided that it was best to ignore thousands of complaints, even ones involving serious corruption in the NHS, social services, police, court service and probation service – for which he was paid £135k pa? Well between 1998 and 2003, Adam Peat was a senior civil servant in the National Assembly of Wales. For the previous nine years he had been Chief Exec of Tai Cymru, the body funding and regulating the housing association movement in Wales. Now my worries about Peat were always that he had prevented an investigation into such serious wrongdoing in the NHS – but his activities re housing are just as worrying. He had spent all those years involved with Tai Cymru, yet as Ombudsman he was responsible for investigating housing problems. Indeed, housing problems were something that he took a very big interest in – during his time as Ombudsman, one of his reports was devoted to housing allocation and homeless provision. So not only was Peat suppressing complaint into criminal activities in the NHS, but he had massive conflicts of interest as well.

So where is Adam Peat now? He’s back in the housing business! Adam Peat OBE is now Chairman of Magna Housing. Magna Housing is a community based housing association located primarily in Dorset and Somerset and provides over 8500 homes to let and 350 shared ownership homes. It’s annual turnover is in excess of £36 million. There is a notice on Magna’s website explaining that Magna has a confidential reporting process for employees to report serious concerns relating to trafficking and modern slavery. This organisation has a Chairman who suppressed a complaint about people involved in organised crime, namely a paedophile ring that was trafficking young people into prostitution. I wonder what’s going to happen if a Magna employee does report modern slavery or trafficking?

One of the blogs that I follow is Jac O The North. I don’t share the political views of Jac and most of his correspondents, but Jac does an excellent job of exposing corruption in Wales. There has been much on Jac’s blog concerning housing associations in Wales and the very odd things that seem to be happening in them. For example, the very great difficulty that some people even those who have lived in Wales for years have obtaining housing association properties. Many of Jac’s correspondents have written in with anecdotes of serious offenders from England somehow succeeding in obtaining housing association properties in rural Wales after they have been released from prison. A lot of those offenders have been sex offenders – and there was even a case in which yes, a whole paedophile ring were rehoused in Wales from England. When I first started reading these accounts, I presumed that these were the sort of myths one hears which don’t bear much relation to reality – along the lines of Theresa May’s anecdote to the Tory Party Conference about the terrorist who couldn’t be deported because his pet cat allowed him to use the Human Rights Act to remain in the UK. ‘I am not making this up’ said Theresa. It turned out that she was. However, it seems that Jac and his correspondents really are not making things up – sex offenders and people known to be involved with organised sexual abuse are being housed in rural Wales despite having no previous connections with the region at all. And it is happening too frequently for it to be a consequence of the general movement of people who choose to relocate. What if, as well as the network of corrupt people in the NHS, police, social services and legal services facilitating organised child sexual abuse and associated people trafficking, there were a few of them working in the housing association sector?

What do you reckon Adam?

 

 

 

News Round Up, August 1, 2017

I am no longer attending Betsi Board meetings having moved elsewhere, but I do still hear about them. I have recently received an e mail from someone who attended the last Board meeting who told me that the Betsi Board are still utterly deluded regarding the ‘services’ that they are providing and their abilities to run their own organisation. Bad news Betsi stories continue to hit the local media on a weekly basis and the Board remains in special measures. Vaughan Gething the Health Minister recently refused to establish a medical school in north Wales, no doubt because he knows that the problems in the NHS in north Wales are such that any medical school sited there would be a disaster – and a spectacular waste of money. The Board is currently awaiting the results of two independent investigations into the ‘institutional abuse’ of mental health patients.

So my correspondent was somewhat surprised to hear Peter Higson, the Chair of the Board, use the phrase ‘IF there is to be another appraisal’ when speaking about the Board’s possible release from special measures. As my correspondent noted – ‘IF’??? Does Higson really think that he is going to get away with no more appraisals after the scale of the disaster? Perhaps Higson does think this – after all he was the manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh whilst the most appalling things went on and was never required to answer to anyone, he then played a leading role in the scandal ridden quango Elwa and was rewarded with an appointment as Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales, during which time he steadfastly failed to investigate serious complaints. By the time that Higson left HIW it was described as ‘not fit for purpose’ – he was then appointed Chair of the Betsi. Yes, maybe Higson is a little surprised that for the first time in his long and glorious career of shafting the citizens of Wales he is now finally under scrutiny. The Welsh Office’s concealing of the shite at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh because it in turn was concealing the North Wales Paedophile Ring provided a big umbrella for Higson for many years and he won’t have suffered by having a sister who was Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Ruth Hussey – although I note that Ruth’s exorbitant salary was made public in the Welsh media last week and invoked fury in some quarters….

It’s entertaining to compare what is appearing in the media concerning the Betsi with the ‘press releases’ on their website. What appears in the local media is a relentless catalogue of scandal, complaint, crisis, suicides, avoidable deaths of patients and damning reports from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. But when one clicks on the Betsi’s website one enters another universe. I’ll detail just a few of the stories that have appeared on there over the last couple of weeks.

On July 25 it was reported that at Llandudno Hospital, some ‘dementia champions’ were encouraging staff and visitors to back a scheme established by the Alzheimers Society to train ‘dementia friends’ to ‘support local people living with dementia’. Dementia support worker Rachel Richards, who has worked at Llandudno Hospital as a dementia champion for four years, won the UNISON Wales 2016 ‘Outstanding Person of the Year’ award for her work concerning dementia. Now Rachel might be a really nice person who has moved heaven and earth to try and improve the lives of people with dementia. If she has done this, it will be in spite of her employers, not because of them. The Betsi is currently in special measures and the subject of two investigations as a result of the scandalous abuse of patients with dementia on Tawel Fan ward. After the closure of that ward, there was another scandal involving dementia patients at Bryn Hesketh, although the Betsi refused to ever come clean regarding the details of that.

UNISON is the union that a lot of Betsi staff belong to – including some of the staff who over the past years have been involved in the abuse of patients. UNISON has provided those staff with unlimited free legal advice even in the face of very serious complaint from patients. Some years ago a former manager of the Hergest Unit, Robin Holden, told someone known to me that the problems at the Hergest were very serious but that he was completely unable to resolve them whilst he was employed as a manager there because ‘the unions’ obstructed him constantly. And I bet that one of those unions was UNISON. UNISON doesn’t support whistleblowers but it does support staff who are the subject of very serious complaint, including assault or sexual assault on patients. I accept that everybody is entitled to a fair hearing no matter how serious the allegations against them are, but in the case of patients alleging abuse on the part of NHS staff it is not a level playing field. The staff accused will receive free legal advice from their union and the support of the NHS – because the NHS NEVER admits failure until there is a damning external report from somewhere – whereas the patients/relatives will only be entitled to a very limited number of hours of legal aid, even in the case of a death. Furthermore, if you are Martin Jones (the former Chief Exec of the North West Wales NHS Trust and currently the Director of Workforce at the Betsi) you will deliberately fail to answer questions from patients’ lawyers no matter how many times they are put to you in order to prolong correspondence between yourself and patients’ lawyers as much as possible, knowing damn well that if you manage to string this out for a few months the patient’s legal aid will run out. Martin will then write the patient a letter refusing to correspond with them any further. Which is what you did to me when CCTV filmed your staff threatening me, refusing to treat me and making false allegations against me in an attempt to have me arrested wasn’t it Martin?

On July 21 the Betsi website published an article about a lady of whom they are most proud, Dr Alys Cole-King, an ‘expert’ in suicide prevention. This expert in suicide prevention is a former psychiatrist at the Hergest Unit which had one of the highest suicide rates in the UK among it’s patients. Alys now works at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd as a psychiatrist – the hospital which was the site of the institutional abuse of mental health patients. My post ‘Experts In Suicide Prevention??’ provides a full account of the bullshit and hypocrisy that emanates from Alys as well as details of the con that is her organisation ‘Connecting With People’. Alys was congratulated by Higson after she won a ‘top international award’ for her ‘pioneering work’ supporting people at risk of suicide and self-harm. So that’ll be why so many people are still killing themselves in north Wales then and why self-harming patients are still reporting that they are unable to access effective treatment from the Betsi. Alys went to Malaysia no less, to the ‘glittering awards ceremony’. Well that beats staying at home in north Wales treating your patients doesn’t it.

But Alys isn’t the only expert on suicide and self-harm from the Betsi gaining international recognition! Professor Rob Poole – a psychiatrist who mistreated one patient of his so badly that he was the subject of a speech in the Senedd – and his colleague Professor Catherine Robinson have been awarded dosh to continue their trips to south Asia to teach Johnny Foreigner all about self harm and suicide prevention (see posts ‘It’s Those Experts From The Betsi Again!’ and ‘He’s Not The Messiah – He’s A Very Naughty Boy’ for more info on Poole and Robinson). I received a phone call from someone telling me ‘but they don’t know anything about suicide prevention’. I know that they don’t, but they don’t tell anyone that. They tell everybody that they are experts in these matters and everybody around them goes along with the fantasy in the hope that the Betsi or Bangor University can then tweet nonsense about the experts in their employ. And no-one in south Asia knows the grim reality of what passes for ‘care’ of the suicidal or self-harmers in north Wales. This technique worked so well for Mark Williams and Mindfulness (see post ‘The Biggest Expert of the Lot’) that others have taken a leaf out of his book.

The Betsi published another story on it’s website on July 21 as well – it announced that a ‘UK top clinical leader’ had attended an event at Bryn y Neuadd Hospital, supporting the Betsi’s strategic plan involving ‘senior mental health nurses’. These will be the senior mental health nurses that have been responsible for the neglect and abuse of patients to date then – they won’t be new senior mental health nurses because nobody will actually work for the Betsi so bad is it’s reputation. Jen French, the Director of Nursing for Mental Health and Learning Disability, admitted this – she commented that she hoped that the new strategy would boost recruitment when word got around about the ‘supportive environment that we provide’. That environment is so supportive that the nurse who blew the whistle on the Tawel Fan scandal was sacked. None of the staff involved in abusing the patients were disciplined. The whistleblower was also wrongfully arrested, subjected to malicious smears and received death threats. That’s Jen’s ‘supportive environment’ for you.

So who was the ‘top clinical leader’ who gave the Betsi his support? He was Emeritus Professor Tony Butterworth. The Betsi stressed that Tony was listed as one of the top 100 clinical leaders by the ‘respected’ Healthcare Services Journal. The HSJ was the offender who at one point named Katrina Percy as ‘NHS CEO of the Year’. Percy presided over the scandal at Southern Health, where hundreds of patients with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems died. The scandal only ever became public as a result of the campaigning of Dr Sara Ryan, an Oxford sociologist, whose son died whilst in the care of Southern Health. As happens to so many people who dare expose NHS failure, Sara has received abuse and threats, her abilities as a parent were questioned by Southern Health, she was described by the psychiatrist who was responsible for the care of her son when he died as ‘toxic’ and the teenaged son of a colleague of Katrina Percy sent out a tweet describing Sara as a ‘fucking pest’. Yesterday the inquest returned the verdict on the death of Connor, Sara’s son – death by neglect. The associated report was utterly damning of Southern Health. So I don’t think that anyone is going to be too impressed by anyone who comes highly recommended by the HSJ.

Tony Butterworth wasn’t the only person invited along to the event at Bryn y Neuadd – CANIAD were there too! That’s the CANIAD that has been established by Dafydd Alun Jones et al at CAIS to represent ‘service users’. For details of the con that is CANIAD and the corrupt process which resulted in it landing the contract for ‘service user involvement’ for north Wales, please see posts ‘Introducing Caniad’ and ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’. I have already received correspondence from someone who was duped into working for CANIAD and has discovered that it does not represent service users at all. But then Dafydd et al don’t have much of a track record where patient representation is concerned.

On 19 July, the Betsi website featured a ‘therapy dog’ called Max. Max is currently paying visits to the Hergest Unit where he is alleged to be working wonders. It was observed that when Max arrives the patients come out of their rooms. I bet they do – the reason why patients stay in their rooms in the Hergest Unit is that the staff ignore them or are nakedly aggressive towards them. Max will be a very welcome change (unless he becomes inducted into the culture of the Hergest Unit and starts snapping and snarling at the patients). There is a photo of Max on the website and I note that he is wearing an ID badge. Which is considerably more than the Hergest staff used to – they were notorious for refusing to identify themselves to patients, for refusing to wear ID badges and even uniforms. There was one principal reason for this – it was to ensure that if patients wanted to make a complaint about their appalling behaviour, the patients wouldn’t be able to identify them. All the patients were ever told was the first name of the member of staff and all staff referred to themselves as ‘nurses’. They weren’t – they were nearly all nursing assistants and a lot of them were agency or bank staff. In fact so few of them were qualified nurses that sometimes there was no qualified nurse on duty.

When I made a serious complaint about four Hergest staff, it took me MONTHS to actually find out who they were, although the complaint involved an assault. Nobody would say anymore than ‘Bethan, Michelle, Dave and Sian, nurses’. It was bloody obvious that most of them weren’t nurses, they were barely literate and ‘Dave’ was a caveman with a broken nose, nearly shaved head and prison tattoos. After many months of detective work, I discovered that they were actually Gwen Bethan Roberts, Michelle Shaw, David Wood (nursing assistants) and Sian Ruth Lloyd (newly qualified nurse). I also discovered that there had been numerous other complaints about them involving their abuse and aggression towards patients and that in a previous job with young people ‘nurse Dave’ was alleged to have flushed a client’s head down the bog. Max the dog is going to be a very big improvement on that bunch of thugs.

The article about Max boasts of the other activities that are available to Hergest patients. Art therapy is mentioned. There is an art therapist at Hergest and a lot of patients speak very highly of her. One patient who desperately wanted to do art therapy was prevented from doing so – because she had been to the same school as the art therapist and the dear old Hergest were worried about ‘boundaries’. I suspect that what they were really worried about was that the patient might have told her former school friend what had happened to her in Taliesin Ward – she had been so badly treated in there that one of her neighbours pretended to be a lawyer when she visited her, because the neighbour thought that if the Hergest staff thought that they were being observed by a lawyer the extent of their neglect and brutality might be curbed. The website claims that Tai Chi and walking groups are available for patients. I know a Hergest patient who attended those Tai Chi and walking groups. The ‘groups’ consisted of him – a keen mountaineer in his late 50s – and four or five elderly ladies with the early stages of dementia. No, there was not much Tai Chi or walking done. It is mentioned that a group of Bangor University student volunteers also attend the Hergest Unit to assist with activities. That student group was set up by the Hergest Whistleblower a few years ago – the students were lovely and were very keen. The Hergest Unit management did all they could to stop that group – because they did not want those students witnessing what was going on in the Hergest Unit. At least one of the students was refused permission to continue with the work on the grounds of a minor criminal conviction that he had incurred some years previously – so he was left feeling really bad about himself after being labelled a ‘danger’ to staff and patients. It was bollocks – he wasn’t a danger to anyone, the Hergest management knew that they were employing people like Caveman Dave and they did not want people knowing how patients were being treated.

Interestingly enough, for years animals were banned from the Hergest Unit as well. Patients like me who had dogs had to get our friends to bring our dogs to the hospital and we had to go out into the car park to meet our dogs. And if the ‘nurses’ decided not to let you out of the ward, you couldn’t see your dogs because there was a total ban on animals. Many years ago there was a very friendly Irish junior doctor who worked at the Hergest who was actually a human being and he used to bring his dog in at nights to greet the patients when the other Top Doctors had all gone home. He told us that if anyone found out that he was doing this he would be sacked. It wasn’t just mammals that were banned at Hergest – pigeons were unacceptable as well. The day centre at Hergest – which was eventually closed down entirely – used to have a little courtyard attached to it and pigeons would land in the courtyard. Patients really loved the pigeons and fed them biscuits. A notice appeared on the wall asking everyone not to feed the pigeons. Everyone ignored it and carried on feeding the pigeons so another notice appeared ORDERING everyone not to feed the pigeons. Everyone ignored that notice as well, so then another notice appeared saying that the door into the courtyard would be locked because people were continuing to feed the pigeons.

On July 13 the Betsi website reported that the family of a man with learning disabilities who died whilst in the ‘care’ of Morriston Hospital in Swansea had appeared at the launch of yet another Betsi ‘initiative’ to improve the care of learning disabled people. It was mentioned that the failures in care at the Morriston had been described by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales as ‘abject’ and ‘dire’. The Ombudsman has made very similar comments about the failures of care provided by the Betsi recently. The Morriston Hospital isn’t in special measures either.

 

My recent post ‘A Prescription For Murder’ reviewed a ‘Panorama’ programme which featured that well-known Top Doctor from the Hergest, Dodgy Geezer Dr David Healy. There’s been quite a bit of fall-out from the programme with the Top Doctors taking to twitter – Rob Poole even wrote a blog post about it (Rob touchingly uses the phrase ‘we experts’ in his post). The voices noticeably absent are those of the patients – I’m glad to say however that someone who has been on the receiving end of Healy has left comments on ‘Service Shenanigans’….

NHS England also caused a twitter storm and prompted much media comment earlier this week when it was announced that there was to be a huge increase in the number of mental health posts. So Jeremy Hunt is going to train and employ thousands more people to carry on doing what has failed to help people with mental health problems so spectacularly so far then. The Top Doctors and their associates have been scrapping over those plans as much as they have been scrapping over Healy’s appearance on ‘Panorama’. I am reminded of that scene in ‘Time Bandits’ when the dwarves all start fighting each other and Napolean looks on delighted and applauds saying ‘That’s what I like – little things hitting each other’. As the Top Doctors and the RCN and the Dodgy Geezers all argue amongst each other, falsify their research and declare themselves the true experts, global capitalism continues to screw healthcare completely. Jeremy Hunt himself has also hit a new enlightenment – he stated that there are ‘problems’ in the NHS that can’t be solved no matter how much is invested in it and that other Gov’ts found the same problem despite spending huge amounts of money on the NHS. I suspect that the ‘problems’ Jeremy might be thinking of are called the BMA and GMC. That’s right Jeremy, they’re institutionally corrupt, you’ve all known it for years and the monsters are now so big and so greedy and so demanding that you can’t possibly give them what they want and now they going to scream and scream until they’re sick.

A fascinating medical scandal has begun to emerge, one that the ‘Independent’ is maintaining could be as big as thalidomide – the vaginal mesh scandal. Since the 1990s, thousands of women experiencing even just mild occasional stress incontinence have been encouraged to have vaginal meshes inserted. The meshes are kept in place by hooks attached to one’s soft tissues. Surprise, surprise, it’s now been revealed that inserting a mesh with hooks on into one’s fanny is not a particularly good idea, the meshes have been slicing through tissue causing bleeding and other awful consequences. Various gynaecologists have been crawling out of the woodwork and some have given comments to the press interpreting this as a consequence of sexism and a cavalier attitude to female health. No, this is an example of the cavalier attitude that Top Doctors routinely adopt towards their patients’ health in general. Gynaecologists both male and female knew what those meshes were doing to people but they have kept quiet for the last twenty years. Furthermore, although a few female gynaecologists self-identifying as the defenders of women’s health are now speaking up, they could have done so a very long time ago – but they didn’t. There is also a complete absence of information regarding who developed vaginal meshes and where the early clinical trials took place. Anyone happen to know? Because someone put those things on the market and robustly promoted them, including to some women who did not actually need such interventions….

It brought back a few more memories of the Everyday Story of St George’s Folk for me. I have mentioned in previous posts how dysfunctional relationships were between Top Doctors at St George’s and how the main pastime was knifing each other or gossiping about who was shagging who. There was one Top Doctor there who was particularly loathed by everyone – a gynaecologist called Stuart Stanton who specialised in treating urinary incontinence. He seemed very secretive about his practices and people spent much time and effort trying to find out what he was up to – including where in the world he actually was at any one time, because he wasn’t always in London. Stanton was robustly recommended to well-heeled private patients as being the man to consult should they suffer from pelvic floor problems. Yet people who worked with him used to constantly make comments along the lines of ‘Christ I wouldn’t let him near me’. I never ever found out what it was that he was doing that repulsed everybody so much and why there were so many efforts made by so many people to try and find out about his business practices. As ever with the Top Doctors, there was clearly a slurry pit somewhere involving Stanton but they weren’t going to let on, especially not to patients. Stanton is still practicing – in Harley Street of course. I keep wondering how many people he might have recommended a vaginal mesh to…

Whilst reading all about the vaginal meshes in the ‘Indie’, I noticed another story on their website. That of a case of a learning disabled couple in Oregon, who have had their new born baby removed from them on the grounds that they had learning disabilities. There were no allegations of them presenting a danger to the baby, the decision was made simply because both the baby’s parents had ‘low IQs’. This is not a first and this sort of thing happens rather closer to home than Oregon. You’ve guessed it – I witnessed the very same thing happen to a learning disabled couple whose baby was born at St Georges. The decision to remove the baby from their care as soon as it was born was not one taken by the midwives or obstetricians and a lot of them were very uncomfortable with what was happening and felt that it was very sad. The decision had been taken by the social services – as were other decisions regarding the removal of babies from their mothers, again in circumstances that left a lot of the staff on the labour ward very uncomfortable. I felt that this was bad enough at the time, but after receiving the documents regarding my own case a few months ago, I am now very concerned at what might have been going on. Because the social workers making the decisions to remove those babies from their parents at birth were the very same social workers who my documents now demonstrate were without my knowledge – and after never having even met me – in communication with Lucille Hughes, Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) regarding my ‘dangerousness’. The Lucille, Dafydd and Tony who were facilitating a paedophile ring in north Wales. Many of the decisions to remove babies from mothers giving birth at St Georges were made in consultation with psychiatrists from St Georges – the psychiatrists who knew about the serious criminal activities of Dafydd Alun Jones et al in north Wales but who colluded with them and said nothing about their wrongdoing….

The ‘Guardian’ is reporting on a major industrial dispute in NHS England that is getting remarkably little attention – but then it doesn’t involve Top Doctors or Angels. This dispute involves some genuinely very badly paid NHS workers – the cleaners of Barts NHS Trust. They are not actually employees of Barts or indeed of the NHS because of course the cleaning contract has been outsourced, in order to pay the cleaners even less. The cleaners are working for Serco, some shifts start at 4am in the morning and some of the cleaners are in their 60s with health problems. The workforce involved is mostly female and substantially made up of ethnic minorities. So among all these media allegations of ‘nurses going to food banks because their pay is so low’ – no, nurses’ pay is not that low, it is not high but it is above the UK average – here is a group of workers who really are being exploited and paid dreadfully. So where’s the outcry then? I’m glad to note that Jeremy Corbyn is supporting them, but there’s a conspicuous absence of other high profile names who have tripped over themselves to spout off about junior doctors not being able to live on their salaries and of course all those nurses down at the food banks. There is one glaring inaccuracy in the ‘Indie’ report though. It states that Florence Nightingale knew the value of hygiene. She didn’t – Florence had quite a casual attitude to hygiene, it was all a bit Mid-Staffs. When Florence was told of the existence of ‘germs’, she refused to believe that they existed on the grounds that something that small wasn’t possible. So she continued to walk through the wards giving everyone a dose of the deathly lamp.

 

BBC News Wales online has had much coverage of the commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele over the last few days. There has been much remembering of the fallen. As the Betsi continues to exterminate people with mental health problems whilst boasting about it’s experts, I think that it’s about time that we remembered the now hundreds of people who have died in the face of all this expertise. I suggest a Tomb of the Unknown Service User with an eternal flame to counteract the constant stream of propaganda from Higson et al.

 

Oh To Be In Receipt Of Academic Honours

Whilst researching for a future post, I had cause to access the list of people honoured by the University of South Wales in 2014. It was certainly a bit of a surprise, because a number of those people had something in common – they had been involved in concealing health and social care scandals and some of them have previously featured on this blog. What can be going on at the University of South Wales – if any readers can shed light on this phenomenon, please do. Anyway, here’s the lowdown on the names that jumped out at me…

Gerard Elias QC, presented with an honorary doctorate of Laws. Gerard was Counsel to the Waterhouse Inquiry, that massive whitewash regarding the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. (I will be blogging more about Waterhouse and those involved, including Gerard, very soon.)

The Rt Hon Paul Murphy MP, presented with an honorary doctorate of the University. Paul Murphy was Secretary of State for Wales under Blair by the time that Waterhouse had completed his Report and it was Paul Murphy to whom the Report was sent. Paul Murphy was delighted that the Report confirmed that no public figures had been involved in the abuse of children in north Wales, although it was confirmed that a paedophile ring had operated in the Chester and Wrexham areas and that Lucille Hughes, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services, had known that a paedophile ring was operating through the social services. Paul was obviously greatly relieved that it was just the sheepshaggers abusing each other. Paul was of course MP for Torfaen and my co-researcher has dug up some comments from a few of Paul’s constituents who were less than flattering about him, believing him to be ‘anti-Welsh’, ‘Blairite’ and consistently voting against the interests of his constituents. It didn’t do him any harm, he’s now in the Lords. For a man who has spent so long in politics there is not much information in the public domain about Paul. He is known to be a ‘bachelor’, a devout Catholic and he was of course one of Blair’s men involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, so he will probably have been involved in whatever deals were done that prevented Martin McGuinness facing murder charges and ending up in Government instead. Murphy was at one point summarily removed as Welsh Secretary but nobody ever seemed to find out why. He supported Andy Burnham in the now notorious Labour leadership battle. That’s the Andy Burnham that consistently concealed the carnage at Mid-Staffs.

The Rt Hon the Lord Morris of Aberavon, presented with an honorary doctorate of Laws. Lord Morris was previously John Morris, Labour MP for Aberavon 1959-2002, Secretary of State for Wales, 1974-1979 and Attorney General for England, Wales and N Ireland, 1997-1999. Morris had an interesting special advisor who died recently, Lord Gwilym Prys-Davies (please see post ‘In Memoriam’). Prys-Davies was a member of the Welsh Hospitals Board which oversaw the horrors that occurred at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh under Gwynne and Dafydd and will undoubtedly have known at least some of what they were doing. Furthermore, Lord Prys-Davies came from north Wales himself, so of course he’ll have known about Denbigh. The Welsh Hospitals Board was abolished and it’s functions passed to the Secretary of State for Wales in 1974 – which was the year that Gwilym was appointed special advisor to Morris! Like Morris himself, Gwilym was a lawyer who had studied at Aberystwyth University – as were so many people who were involved with keeping a lid on the horrors of Denbigh and the abuse of children or passing judgement in Court on those who had dared cross the paths of those we know and love. Between 1997 and 1999, under Blair, Morris was Attorney General. I discovered this morning that in 1996, it was agreed by the Attorney General that nothing said by the witnesses giving evidence to the Waterhouse Inquiry could be used in a criminal prosecution against them. The witnesses did of course include the people who’d been molested whilst in the care of the social services as children and a lot of those people had criminal records for offences involving drugs or theft, burglary etc. But of course many of the witnesses had been involved in rather more serious activities – the sexual abuse of children. And they were the ones running and staffing the ‘services’. No wonder there have been so few prosecutions. The Attorney General who made this kind offer was Sir Nicholas Lyell MP, who worked under both Thatcher and Major (there will be more about Lyell in a future post). But in 1997, when Waterhouse was actually in the process of taking the evidence from witnesses, Blair won the election – and Morris took over as Attorney General and presumably continued with the same generous arrangement. Paul Murphy, the Secretary of State for Wales who received the Waterhouse Report, would have known about the protection that people potentially involved in very serious crime had been afforded – but was completely reassured by the Report nonetheless. No more questions to be asked on the matter. Morris was also President of the London Welsh Trust – just like dear old Sir William Mars-Jones, the man who protected Gwynne the lobotomist when Gwynne was causing havoc at Bangor University! – and Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed in 2002. (It’s extraordinary how many representatives of HM the Queen have been involved in some very sordid activities.) But best of all, in 2013 Lord Morris was appointed Chancellor of the University of South Wales. No wonder they honoured him. The University of South Wales was of course formed from the merger between the troubled University of Glamorgan and the mired in scandal University of Newport. Lord Morris had been Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan since 2002.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge, presented with an honorary doctorate of the University. Well if we’re talking ignoring the presence of a paedophile ring, Margaret Hodge is up there with Lucille. Margaret was famously the leader of Islington Council when a paedophile ring was causing utter chaos in it’s children’s homes. One of the children molested whilst he had been in the care of Islington wrote to Hodge when he was older, only for Hodge to publicly denounce him as ‘disturbed’. He sued her and won and subsequently Hodge tried to excuse her dreadful conduct by claiming that we didn’t know about sexual abuse in those days. Yes Margaret we did, which is exactly why people like you discredited people who dared bring it to your attention. Margaret’s husband Henry was a judge – who when he was young had been involved with the National Council for Civil Liberties, which had been affiliated to PIE, a group that campaigned for ‘paedophiles rights’. (For more information on this whole sorry mess and the relevance that it has to the north Wales child abuse scandal, please see my post ‘The London Connection’.) Margaret was a good mate of a man called Tony Blair and she later was appointed as Minister for Children in Blair’s Gov’t. Had I ignored a paedophile gang whilst running children’s homes I would expect people to have a really good laugh at me if I then accepted a post as Children’s Minister, but Margaret is now a Dame as opposed to merely a Lady which she was when she was married to a Sir. Margaret is the MP for – most appropriately – Barking. Barking had a lethal hospital that was exterminating patients and at the same time that this establishment was the focus of much terrible publicity, Margaret was a guest on ‘Any Questions’. Someone was mildly critical of the NHS and Margaret let rip, yelling repeatedly that it was ‘my NHS’ that they were talking about and thus succeeded in shouting them down. She failed to mention that her NHS was killing people, in much the same way that she had trouble admitting that her social services were sexually assaulting children.

Dr Peter Carter OBE, presented with an honorary doctorate of the University. Peter Carter was the General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing 2007-2015. That’s the RCN that provides free assistance and legal advice to nurses who stand accused of abusing and harming patients. I accept that everyone is entitled to a fair trial and indeed are innocent until proven guilty but the RCN seem to go a little further than adhering to this. Alan Roberts, the nurse practitioner who threatened me and threw me out of Ysbyty Gwynedd after I’d been unlawfully refused treatment (please see post ‘Two Dangerous Very Dishonest Nurses’) was some years later caught red handed by a (very brave) whistleblower threatening an old lady, impersonating a police officer and then assaulting and injuring the old lady. Roberts was found guilty but then appealed. By the time that his appeal was heard the old lady had died. Roberts’s conviction was overturned – not because he hadn’t assaulted the old lady, but because it couldn’t be proven that her injuries were a direct result of his assault on her. After his appeal Roberts announced that he would be applying to return to work as a nurse in Ysbyty Gwynedd. I understand that he received advice from the RCN throughout. In 2013 in the wake of the Mid-Staffs scandal and associated enquiries, Peter Carter wrote an article for the ‘Guardian’ reassuring the readers that nursing had not ‘gone bad’ and placed the problems firmly at the feet of Mid-Staffs ‘management’. Some of those ‘managers’ were nurses and were members of the RCN – and some of the behaviour of those nurses was inexcusable even in the face of appalling management. One also wonders why the RCN themselves didn’t go public on what was happening at Mid-Staffs – because they did know. In 2011 Peter was awarded the inaugural President’s medal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. That’s the Royal College of Psychiatrists of which Prof Rob Poole is a leading light in Wales. The Rob Poole who works for the Betsi – which is currently in special measures due to ‘institutional abuse’ in the mental health services. Peter is a former psychiatric nurse himself but I never noticed him publicly commenting on the dreadful state of the UK mental health services. In 2013 Peter was awarded an honorary fellowship with the Royal College of General Practitioners. The Royal College of General Practitioners of which Dr DGE Wood has been a leading light in Wales – whilst he concealed a mountain of crap in the mental health services in north Wales. Peter is a member of the Prince’s Trust, one of whose priorities is ‘young people in care’ (which obviously explains why Huw Vaughan Thomas, who was the Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council whilst his staff were investigated by the police regarding the paedophile ring that was operating in it’s children’s services, is involved with it). Peter also appears on the website of the College of Medicine, which lobbies for the availability of ‘complementary medicines’ of no proven clinical benefit on the NHS. It is widely believed that the College of Medicine is a resurrection of the ‘Princes Foundation For Integrated Medicine’ which imploded in 2011 among allegations of fraud and money laundering. Peter is described as a ‘keen supporter of military medicine’, is the honorary Colonel to the 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital in Cardiff and in 2011 he spent a week in Afghanistan visiting troops and the medicals/paramedics.

One of Peter’s close colleagues is also keen on military medicine. That is Tina Donnelly, Director of the RCN in Wales since 2004. When Mary Burrows was Chief Exec of the Betsi and was doing her best to combat the corruption and dreadful care prevalent in that organisation, Tina was regularly found to be fuming in the Welsh press, reminding everyone of the hard-working selfless angels that staffed Wales’s hospitals. Those were the angels who abused and neglected the patients in Tawel Fan, who were left crawling around naked on a floor covered in faeces and urine – one patient was found to have an untreated broken arm. Tina has been a reservist in the Army medical services for 23 years and has completed two tours of Afghanistan. In 2008 she was Medical Group leader for Health Care Governance on operations in Afghanistan – Tina was also Commanding Officer of a Role 3 hospital at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in 2013-14.

Tina and Peter are in good company. Another nurse from Wales who enjoys marching up and down is Stephen Gallagher, a senior nurse in A&E at Ysbyty Gwynedd who refused to assess or treat me and told me that if I was suicidal I ‘should be in a cell’. Gallagher then called the police alleging that I’d threatened him. CCTV footage showing that I had done no such thing was destroyed by the hospital when my lawyer requested it to be released. After my lawyer had demonstrated that Gallagher had lied repeatedly and I then discovered that he had previously been investigated after a doctor complained about him and that it was acknowledged that Gallagher’s competence and integrity could not be relied upon, a good news story about Stephen Gallagher was released to the London based media by the North West Wales NHS Trust. It alleged that Major Gallagher, an Army reservist, whilst on tour in Afghanistan, had saved the life of a boy with a head injury. It transpired that Gallagher had done no such thing, he had simply made a phone call to somebody else who later collected the boy from Gallagher’s colleagues and took him elsewhere to be operated on. Some months later Gallagher once more refused me treatment unlawfully and this time threatened and insulted two members of the public who were trying to help me and was assisted in this by another nurse in A&E at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Andrew Parry. I understand that Andrew Parry is an Army reservist as well. Gallagher hit the local media again in 2010 – he had been the last person to see a patient who was later found dead in inexplicable circumstances. This amount of bad luck with patients hasn’t impeded Gallagher’s desire to continue marching up and down – last year I came across a reference to Colonel Gallagher no less. Gallagher and his colleagues from hospitals in north west Wales who are also Army reservists deeply impressed another man who even attended one of their awards ceremonies in Liverpool (Gallagher himself picked up an award at this event). The man who praised the work of Gallagher et al had spent the previous few years campaigning on behalf of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘nursing home for veterans’ in Llandudno, Ty Gwyn, which was on its last legs because it was, well a con and the Welsh Gov’t refused to fund patients to stay there. The campaigner was Sean Tierney, one of Dafydd’s patients and told everyone that he was a former Major who had been shot in the Falklands campaign and had only survived thanks to battlefield surgery and now suffered from PTSD. He was actually a conman, was not a Major, had not fought in the Falklands and is now in prison after being found guilty of trying to murder two of his neighbours. (Full details of all these extraordinary events are covered in my posts ‘Two Dangerous Very Dishonest Nurses’ and ‘A Very Bad PR Man’.) Tina and Peter are in good company then. But guess what – Tina was also honoured by the University of South Wales, in 2012 they gave her an honorary fellowship!

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, presented with an honorary Doctorate of Science. The University of South Wales are cultivating Mr Big here, Sir Leszek is Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University no less (in view of the firm and ruthlessly hierarchical nature of the UK university sector, I can only wonder why Leszek would want an honour from the University of South Wales). Leszek is a medical academic and was formerly Chief Exec of the Medical Research Council. He was a consultant at Hammersmith Hospital (for an account of the dodgy activities of many of the grandest people at Hammersmith whom I encountered when I spent a year there doing an MSc, please see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’). Leszek then headed the Dept of Medicine at the University of Wales – details are not provided regarding Leszek’s position in relation to the many scandals and troubles that have emanated over the last few years regarding those associated with medicine in the University of Wales – and Leszek then was appointed Deputy Rector at Imperial College. He was responsible for ‘the overall academic and scientific direction of the college’.  So he will have been directing the activities of all those questionable people who worked at Hammersmith and then became part of Imperial when the institutions merged. Such as Professor Sir Nicholas Wright, now a bigwig at Cancer Research UK – Cancer Research UK also happens to fund much of Nick Wright’s research. Cancer Research UK is the latest incarnation of what used to be known as the Cancer Research Campaign. For an account of the research fraud, deception and haemorrhaging of funds that I witnessed at the Cancer Research Campaign laboratories at the University of Nottingham, please see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’. I note that Leszek is a council member of Cancer Research UK – a wise move if he has been involved in the scientific direction of Imperial, he’ll be keeping schtum about a great deal. I, along with the other researchers in Nottingham, all took the view that if the general public actually saw what was going on in that lab and how zilch genuine research was being done by the ‘academics’ as the ‘leaders’ of that lab grandly titled themselves, no-one would ever donate to cancer research again.

Why the University of South Wales decided to honour most of this motley crew I do not know – I presume that honouring Sir Leszek does have much potential for toadying purposes, but the others…. The University of South Wales has been in the news recently, regarding the possibility of redundancies. I suspect that it is a very troubled institution beneath the covers, as both of the institutions that gave rise to it had problems. The University of Glamorgan did have a number of excellent staff but seemed to treat them appallingly and not understand how good some of them were – they all wanted to escape, either to other jobs or to retirement. I also had a friend who did her degree down there and there was huge amounts of dissatisfaction among the students. They didn’t seem to be critical of the staff, but maintained that the University had misled them as to the facilities that were available there. It was claimed that promotional material sent out to potential students was frankly untruthful. But that was nothing as to the troubles at the University of Newport. I was on a train in south Wales on one occasion and I found myself sitting next to a married couple who had both been tempted by New Labour’s ‘widening participation’ policy to apply to university. They weren’t from academic backgrounds and they didn’t have friends or family who had knowledge of the HE sector, so all they were relying on was advertising from Blair’s Gov’t and of course universities themselves. The husband had enrolled for an engineering degree at Newport and his wife had enrolled for nursing at Newport. They had children and they made considerable sacrifices to undertake full-time study, but they were reassured by the architects of New Labour’s HE policy that of course it would be worth it, being graduates they would obtain well paid secure employment eventually. They had one heck of a shock as they neared graduation, which was when I met them. The engineering student found that the course that he was on, although it was an engineering course, was not recognised by the professional body needed for him to obtain a position as a graduate engineer. At no point had Newport told him or the other students that their degree did not have the same recognition that most other engineering degrees had. They only found out towards the end of their course when Newport revealed to them that they would have to undertake another degree in order to achieve the recognition that they needed. As for the nursing student – she was spitting blood. She and all her peers had been positively encouraged to become nurses only to be told just before graduation that there was virtually zero recruitment of nurses in the hospitals in south Wales. So this couple had made sacrifices, were in dept, but had no prospect of the sort of professional employment that they had been led to believe would be a certainty. But that of course was the big Blair con – the working class people that he persuaded to get into debt to acquire degrees did not know about the pecking order in UK universities and most of them were completely unaware that a degree from Newport was not viewed in the same way as a degree from a Russell group institution. Blair’s own kids I note, did not go to Newport to do nursing themselves…

But I heard an even better story about Newport sometime after my encounter on the train. One of my friends with an excellent academic record applied for a job as Director of Research there. He told me that his interview was one of the more bizarre experiences of his career. Of the panel that interviewed him, only one of them had a PhD. That was a man with a background in IT, whom my friend observed was very bright and seemed to have a good understanding of what was needed for a university to achieve success in the research stakes. But this man was completely marginalised and frozen out by the ‘leading’ member of the interview panel, whom my friend observed did not have a PhD herself and seemed to know nothing about research at all. My friend described this woman as ‘objectionable’ and said that he had never been treated so rudely at an interview before. It was so bad that he decided during the interview that if he was offered the job he wouldn’t take it, because the thought of working with this woman was dreadful. At the end of the interview he was offered a cup of tea with someone else who actually seemed very warm and friendly, so my friend took the opportunity to remark upon the way in which he’d been treated and asked what on earth had been bothering this woman. He was told that she’d been ‘having a hard time recently’. He later discovered that a number of students were threatening to personally sue her. They had been halfway through their degrees when the objectionable woman, in her capacity as a senior manager, had taken a decision that that particular degree would stop running. Just like that. And those students could sod off. The students did eventually find a way of completing their courses but only after threatening the dipstick with legal action. My friend subsequently received a letter from Newport telling him that he hadn’t got the job. They had instead appointed a woman who until about five years previously had been a PE teacher and who had just finished a PhD. But she was a champion golf player. So who was the mad woman leading the panel who narrowly avoided being sued by the students, treated my friend appallingly during his interview and appointed a director of research on their golf playing ability? She was Amelia Lyons. Amelia Lyons was of course Head of Counselling at Newport. What else could she have been.

Shortly after my friend’s encounter with Amelia it was announced that Newport was to merge with Glamorgan. As I remember Glamorgan didn’t actually want them, but were forced into it by the Welsh Gov’t. I wonder who is selecting those to be honoured. Amelia perhaps.

 

News Round Up, June 2 2017

The Top Doctors continue to apply the pressure for more dosh. Yesterday Mail online were reporting that the Kings Fund was warning that 4 out of 10 Trusts in England were planning to slash routine operations as managers are forced to make ‘tough decisions’. The Kings Fund surveyed the financial directors of 48 Clinical Commissioning Groups regarding their priorities for 2017/18. 63% of them were ‘concerned that they wouldn’t be able to increase spending on mental health’. Richard Murray, Director of Policy at the Kings Fund, commented that the ‘demand for services’ was ‘outstripping the NHS budget’. Dr Mark Porter of the BMA has also joined in, maintaining that more money is needed. To exemplify the crisis, it was stated that three CCGs in the West Midlands are restricting joint replacements operations until patients are in severe pain. This is the same West Midlands that hosted the illustrious Dr Ian Paterson who was recently imprisoned for 15 years after carrying out unnecessary operations on hundreds of patients. My post ‘A Top Doctor Goes To Prison’ explains how the machinations of the medical establishment, including the BMA, GMC and MDU, created a situation in which no-one felt able to stop Paterson although a lot of people knew what he was doing. The ‘independent’ Kings Fund has very close links with this establishment and is a former employer of both Niall Dickson, who was Chief Exec of the GMC for years and Ian Kennedy, who was also a member of the GMC for years, but who managed to carry out a ‘Review’ of Paterson’s activities which placed the blame very firmly on everyone but the Top Doctors themselves. Paterson’s crimes have cost the NHS £18 million in damages and costs so far – that would have paid for a few joint replacements.

The Top Doctors must be getting desperate because today they’ve enlisted the help of the big guns – the Royal College of Surgeons have Spoken Out. Guess what – they want more money. Their president, Clare Marx, has commented that large numbers of patients are waiting too long in pain and discomfort and that this is ‘the grim reality of the financial pressures facing the NHS’. The grim reality of the consequences of no-one stopping Ian Paterson – whom the Royal College of Surgeons almost certainly knew about – is also large numbers of patients in pain and discomfort as well as an unknown number of deaths (unknown because no-one’s dared do the research). To strengthen her position Marx refers to the recent bout of whinging from the Nuffield Trust. That’s the organisation that funds research on the basis of researchers personal medical histories rather than on the quality of the proposed research (please see post ‘News Updates, Additional Comments And Observations’). Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, has commented that the ‘Tories neglect and underfunding of the NHS has pushed services to the brink’. No Jonathan, what has pushed services to the brink has been decades of successive Gov’ts ignoring institutionalised corruption causing patient harm in the NHS and Labour is as guilty of this as the Tories are. Remember Andy Burnham and Alan Johnson who were told by 81 people that terrible things were happening in Mid-Staffs but still refused to hold an inquiry? So whilst patients in Mid-Staffs drank water from flower vases, lay in their own faeces and urine because nurses refused to walk across the ward with a bedpan, were assessed by unqualified receptionists and died unnecessarily, Burnham and Johnson troughed away in Westminster with the best like there was no tomorrow.

Just to remind us all exactly how committed to patient safety the dear old GMC is, they have now issued a ‘warning’ to a Dr Sunil Idicula Simon, after the death of one of his patients, 23 year old Charlotte Foster. Charlotte went to Simon complaining of back pain and breathlessness and he told her to go on a spa day. She subsequently suffered a cardiac arrest and brain damage as a result of a deep vein thrombosis and died. Charlotte had been taking Dianette, an oral contraceptive that carries a higher risk of thrombosis than other oral contraceptives and had also undergone tests that showed that she would be particularly at risk if she took Dianette. She was prescribed it nonetheless. Dr Simon failed to eliminate or confirm DVT as a possibility in Charlotte’s case, failed to put together a treatment plan for stopping the medication, failed to make a record of two consultations and on the second consultation with Charlotte failed to conduct an examination. The GMC commented on their website that Dr Simon’s practice ‘does not meet with the standards required of a doctor. He risks bringing the profession into disrepute…’ So that’s why they’ve allowed him to carry on practicing then. One can only wonder why the GMC didn’t simply forge another document to protect Simon as they did to protect the lethal Dr Tony Roberts (please see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’). As for bringing the profession into disrepute – the GMC had done that themselves by 1990 by repeatedly refusing to take any action against Dr Dafydd Alun Jones as he and his mistress facilitated a paedophile ring and built the foundations of a drugs empire (please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’).

There’s been a few interesting bits of local news recently. Irfon Williams, the man with an aggressive form of bowel cancer who famously moved to England in order to obtain the drug Cetuximab and then campaigned for the same and similar drugs to be available in Wales, has died. Cetuximab didn’t save Irfon and it was very unlikely that it would have, that is why the Welsh Gov’t did not want to implement the Cancer Drugs Fund – the drugs recommended are vey expensive but more importantly do not work. Irfon had undergone 50 sessions of chemo, one round of radiotherapy and five operations – he was in a very bad way and Cetuximab was not going to make a difference. I can understand that a relatively young man facing death would want to grab hold of any chance that he could but there was a particular irony involved in Irfon’s campaign. Irfon was a mental health manager for the Betsi. Yes, Irfon was one of those who had presided over the carnage of mental health patients. Whilst Irfon achieved fame across the UK and appeared on breakfast TV, his former patients found it impossible to access treatment and a lot of them died – no-one pushed the boat out for them or reported on their ‘bravery’. They did not have a ‘TeamIrfon’ campaign to fight their corner and keep their plight in the public eye. And none of them were invited to meet Carwyn. They were left to kill themselves. TeamIrfon led a fundraising campaign to reduce the likelihood of people with cancer and their families suffering from mental health problems. So it wasn’t until Irfon himself developed cancer that he seemed to develop an awareness of the need for mental healthcare.

The ironies continue. A quick look at the Betsi website yesterday revealed that Gary Doherty, the CEO of the Betsi, has signed up to the shallow and hypocritical ‘Time To Change Wales’ campaign, to reduce the ‘stigma’ of mental illness. Yes, Gary who runs a Health Board in special measures because of institutional abuse in its mental health services that nonetheless is still positively exterminating mental health patients and who completely failed to deal with a very serious complaint from me regarding the mental health services, has signed up to an anti-stigma campaign. Part of Gary’s campaign is, unbelievably, to support staff with mental health problems. Well they could certainly never rely on the services that they provide themselves – or more accurately fail to provide – for the rest of us. To rub salt into the wound, the Betsi website has also recently provided a free plug for ‘CALL’, a ‘helpline’ offering ‘mental health support’. People I know gave up with that bloody helpline so hopeless was it – but there we are, the Betsi was reminding everyone that support for mental health problems is only a call away, 24 hours a day. Would you believe that this was the Betsi’s idea of marking ‘mental health awareness week’. Which just confirms my suspicion that bombarding the nation with this shite – and it is shite – regarding ‘fighting stigma’, ‘raising awareness’, ‘talking about it’ and ‘being mindful’ simply serves to provide a smokescreen lest anyone actually notices what is happening to people who suffer serious mental health problems, as opposed to the mildly worried and anxious. A similar smokescreen seems to be developing around serious poverty. There have been recent media allegations that ‘nurses’ and ‘social workers’ are going to food banks. Well if they are, they are doing it for rather different reasons than the rest of the people turning up there. No matter what the Royal College of Nursing or ‘Guardian Society’ tells us, being a nurse or a social worker on £30,000 pa is not exactly ‘I Daniel Blake’. Neither are nurses or social workers dying destitute, which is what is now happening to a number of people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or groups such as asylum seekers etc. Yet nurses and social workers are now being framed as the image of poverty.

Peter Read, a councillor from Pen Llyn, and Liz Saville Roberts, the Plaid MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd, have angrily condemned the shortcomings of the out of hours GP services. Whilst I am glad to see people showing concern for the plight of people living in rural Wales – who have been ignored for a very long time – this did serve to remind me that the likes of Liz and Peter have not had a word to say about the death toll among people with mental health problems in their region. In fact I happen to know that there is a young woman who is literally living in hiding on Pen Llyn after having had the most distressing experience whilst detained at the Hergest Unit – she was coerced into an abortion that she didn’t want and loaded up with ‘medication’, after being diagnosed with ‘paranoid schizophrenia’. She was also gang raped a few years ago and when the case against the rapists collapsed was prosecuted herself for wasting police time. But not to worry, we have the CALL helpline to assist people experiencing such difficulties!

North Wales hit the national media yesterday. A male nurse, described as a ‘sex pest’, employed in Penrhos Care Home in Pwhelli, was struck off by the NMC after being found guilty of seven allegations of misconduct which were described as being ‘racially and sexually motivated’. His activities included kissing elderly ladies, asking them to marry him, telling one of them that her mother was a whore and another one of them that ‘once you’ve had black you never go back’. Cathy Adams, the manager of the care home concerned, emphasised that there was no place for this ‘nurse’ in her establishment and described him as having ‘old fashioned views’. Just like the staff at children’s homes in north Wales whose ‘old methods’ involved punching the children, raping them, sodomising them and forcing them to have oral sex with the staff (see post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake…’). All a little bit old-fashioned. (The account of the activities of the sex pest rather reminded me of Jimmy Savile, who was regularly filmed in hospitals in the 1970s asking four year olds if they would be his girlfriend and demanding kisses from them. No wonder Esther and the rest never guessed that he was a paedophile, he was so good at disguising it.) It is interesting to read that the NMC have actually taken action against someone though. They used to be every bit as bad as the GMC. Not only did they refuse to take action against Sian Ruth Lloyd, an abusive nurse at the Hergest Unit, after she had assaulted me and prevented me from reporting the assault to the police, but when I spoke to them on the phone I was met with an incredibly aggressive man who did not identify himself but told me that once Lloyd had been cleared they would be destroying the evidence that I sent them – before that I spoke to a Rashida Conroy who made it very clear that it was barely worth answering the phone to a patient and used phrases like ‘wha’ d ya want?’ and ‘yeh, right’. At about this time the NMC refused to take action against a psych nurse in charge of an adolescent ward who was discovered viewing child pornography whilst on duty.

A reader has e mailed wondering if the public servants of Wales are getting worried. Walter Glyn Davies, a retired teacher and lay preacher, was confronted by Gareth Winston Roberts during a meeting of Amlwch Town Council and accused of secretly recording the meeting. Roberts, the Chairman of the meeting, had mistakenly believed that Mr Davies’s insulin syringe – he is a diabetic – was a recording device. Roberts has admitted that the public are allowed to record meetings but they have to ‘obtain permission’ first. Gareth Winston Roberts entertained everyone by making reference to ‘proper procedures’ that must be followed. This is Anglesey we’re taking about – it is generally believed to be the most corrupt council in the UK, some of the councillors have gone to prison and it is a regular in the Private Eye ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column. Mr Davies is considering taking the matter up with the Anglesey Council Standards Committee. Somehow I doubt that he’ll get very far. However my reader has pointed out that there is quite a bit of blogging happening in Wales at the moment providing exposes – my own blog is leading the field where the NHS and welfare services are concerned, Jac O the North is dishing the dirt on councillors and politicians and there is a blogger whose revelations so angered Carmarthen Council that their Chief Exec took her to the High Court. Another blog was brought to my attention yesterday. As the mainstream media flatly refuse to publish any of this serious corruption themselves, it looks as though a few people have found another way of blowing the whistle. I would dearly love to believe that this might be the beginning of the end for those we know and love… I am often contacted by people who are in despair after encountering our glorious mental health services and who ask me how they can actually gain help. It is a very difficult question to answer – the only psychiatrist in north Wales who seems to be both normal and know what he is doing is Dr Alberto Salmoiraghi, but I imagine that Dr Alberto must now be buckling under the pressure of thousands of desperate patients beating a path to his door. I can really only advise everyone else to start doing what Jac, me and the other bloggers are doing – go public. What is happening is outrageous and everyone is made to feel that it is only happening to them because they are just bastards. It isn’t, this is now how the welfare services routinely treat people and it has bugger all to do with ‘funding’ and ‘pay restraint’.

Of course one organ that has never been afraid to upset unscrupulous people in power is Private Eye. The latest edition has published a piece about the collapse of Food Dudes Ltd, part of the late Professor Fergus Lowe’s empire. I reported this on the blog recently (please see post ‘Updates On Previous Posts, Including Inquest Verdict’).

STOP PRESS: I have just had a quick look at BBC News Wales online – the North Wales Hospital has been engulfed by a ‘huge blaze’, there are 40 firefighters out there and the roof has collapsed. Traffic is being diverted away from Denbigh. God it’s like something out of Jane Eyre isn’t it. It’s too late Dafydd, it doesn’t matter if a minion of yours has set light to the place in an attempt to destroy evidence – I’ve got 10,000 documents in my possession and no-one knows where I am…

 

News Round Up – And Murder Most Foul

MMail online have reported on yet another serious NHS mental health services failure. Jennifer and Graham Slack, a couple in their 60s, drowned in the River Yare near Great Yarmouth. They left a suicide note behind explaining that they were killing themselves because they were unable to get any help for Mrs Slack’s serious depression and anxiety problems, which she had endured for 20 years. The couple tied themselves together and jumped into the river. They also left behind another two suicide notes in their house, along with passports, financial documents and cash to pay for their funerals. It transpired that Mrs Slack’s GP had made an urgent referral to a psychiatrist at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust but the letter had not been marked ‘urgent’, so it remained unattended until it was too late. Further details revealed at the inquest painted a familiar picture. Mrs Slack, a former nurse, had been on anti-depressants for many years. Her father died, leaving her as the main carer for her elderly mother. She went to see her GP and was referred to a ‘Well Being Service’ run by the Trust and then had two telephone appointments with a mental health nurse. Although she did claim to benefit from this, she began feeling very bad again the following month and returned to the GP. She and her husband met with the GP, Dr Donna Machin, told her how desperate they felt and stressed that they wanted to actually see someone – it was mentioned at the inquest that they had been given a mountain of documentation concerning ‘advice’. Dr Machin decided not to make an immediate referral to a community mental health team because although Mrs Slack had stated that she was feeling suicidal, she did not describe a ‘clear plan’ to commit suicide. A verdict of suicide was recorded. This case illustrates very well what is happening in the UK mental health services – there is a plethora of ‘well being initiatives’ and stacks of ‘advice on ‘mental health’ for people with mild ‘problems’, but very little treatment or care available for people who are becoming desperate and seriously ill. It does not seem to have occurred to those with a touching faith in the benefits of ‘talking about it’ or ‘raising awareness’ or ‘self-help literature’ that such things are not going to make a blind bit of difference to someone who’s crashed out in a foetal position and who can’t stop crying. They won’t be able to ‘share’ or ‘talk’ or raise their awareness even if such things were effective (and there’s not much evidence that they are). It’s interesting that Mrs Slack was a former nurse as well – even healthcare professionals themselves are having difficulty extracting a ‘service’ out of the ‘services’ these days. As is customary when Mail online report a suicide story, there was a little note at the end of the article suggesting that suicidal people should contact the Samaritans for assistance. There’s no point bothering if they live in Bangor, the Samaritans there are remarkably unconcerned if someone with mental health problems becomes suicidal because ‘these people’ kill themselves anyway and furthermore the Samaritans ‘aren’t trained’ to deal with them (please see previous posts).

Recent blog posts have been charting the Top Doctors allies attempts to put the case for huge more quantities of funding for the NHS now that the pleas of the Top Doctors themselves have fallen on deaf ears. It’s now the turn of healthcare researchers to assist the Top Doctors in pursuit of dosh. The Guardian online is carrying an article explaining that a crisis (yet another one) is imminent, as usual attributed to people having the nerve to live too long and/or daring to develop dementia. The solution is more money please, to the NHS and to social care. I am entirely sympathetic to the notion of properly funded social care, but I notice that whenever the Top Doctors and their chums are leading the debate, there is not a robust argument put forward in favour of social care workers being paid properly. It is sometimes mentioned in passing, but the Top Doctors relentlessly present the argument for themselves being paid more, or sometimes nurses as well. Social care workers endure the worst pay and conditions of any group of non-trafficked workers in the country – you wouldn’t get a Top Doctor or indeed a member of the Royal College of Nursing lifting immobile doubly incontinent elderly people off beds and into chairs and then back again or feeding them by hand and changing incontinence pads for £8/hour, day in day out working twelve hour shifts. The outcry about this is indeed there, it rears it’s head when someone makes a documentary exposing the shoddy state of the UK’s social care infrastructure, but these workers are rendered invisible in most of the ‘the NHS needs more money’ debates. The Guardian quotes Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (she’s getting wheeled out in the media on a regular basis at the moment) as saying that not only is ‘more investment’ in the NHS desperately needed, but that it is a ‘great testament to medical research and the NHS’ that the population is living longer. Well although modern medicine has given us all effective pain relief which is a very great blessing, the real advances in terms of extending life span are of course attributed to the big public health advances such as infection control, decent housing, improved nutrition, sanitation and changes in the nature of employment meaning that people don’t die in industrial accidents before they are 40 which used to be commonplace. The average lifespan of the quarrymen at the bottom of the hierarchy in the slate quarries of north west Wales was 32 (or it might have been 36). That wasn’t because they didn’t have the NHS with Top Doctors earning £100,000, it was because their diet was subsistence, their housing was terrible and their work was very dangerous indeed. And of course even with the NHS and the Top Doctors there are still huge differences in lifespan between different socio-economic groups in the UK. As Top Doctors themselves know well, Sir Richard Doll saved many more lives by demonstrating the link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer than highly paid Top Doctors with machines that go ping or access to the Cancer Drugs Fund. Helen Stokes-Lampard also made her comments with reference to dementia which was a bit puzzling – research hasn’t yet made a dent in dementia.

Now for Wales-related news. BBC News Wales have reported that four men have now been convicted variously of murder and manslaughter after Mark Mason from Rhyl was stabbed to death in the car park of Home Bargains in Rhyl. This killing was a revenge killing after somebody else was murdered – it is part of an on-going turf war between two rival gangs of drug dealers who are busy killing each other for the right to control the supply of drugs in Rhyl. So Dafydd and CAIS are continuing to do a really brilliant job with the millions of pounds that the Welsh Gov’t are giving them to ‘tackle substance abuse and associated problems’ then. (The joke among the dope blowers in Bethesda was always that CAIS was the acronym for ‘Come And Inject Some’, but I note that CAIS is also the acronym for Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which is a pretty good description of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones where female patients are concerned.) I have heard from a reader today that as well as getting millions in funding from the Welsh Gov’t, CAIS are also raking in huge quantities of dosh from the DWP. Someone else who doesn’t seem to realise that CAIS has been a scam from the outset observed that CAIS has ‘lost its way’. This person works for the CAB – the dreadful Lucille Hughes of CAIS fame also of course has a role at a very senior level in the management of CAB, so I imagine that people in the CAB will have been led up the garden path as to the value of CAIS, so if they’ve noticed that all is not well it must be bad. If any readers know when Lucille became involved in the CAB I’d be interested to hear from them. I met the one honest solicitor in Bangor who very effectively defended me from the excesses of Dafydd and Lucille when he was doing sessions at the CAB in Bangor and Dafydd knew that was where I’d sought his advice. Within months of that solicitor advising me as to how to defend myself from Dafydd, CAB had stopped providing free legal advice sessions. Knowing how Dafydd and Lucille literally nobbled everyone who dared stand up to them and wreaked a Terrible Revenge on anyone who challenged their corruption I have always wondered if there might have been a connection with the disappearance of the lawyers from the CAB and this man’s effective fighting of my corner against Dafydd. After all, if word got around that there was an excellent lawyer providing free legal advice who wasn’t afraid to challenge Dafydd and who wouldn’t allow himself to be corrupted either, who knows what problems that would have presented for Dafydd, Lucille, the mental health services and the north Wales paedophile ring.

Kirsty Williams has taken a leaf out of Leanne’s book and has been giving media interviews about the trauma that she has incurred after being insulted by the electorate, both face to face and on social media. As part of her Misery Memoir she mentioned how frightened she was when she found that someone had put a ‘Vote Conservative’ poster in her hedge. She commented that ‘someone probably thought that was very funny’. Well it is quite witty in view of the fact that Kirsty’s in-laws are a well-known Tory family but support her because she’s a relative – presumably the poster in her hedge was a reference to this. Perhaps Kirsty’s in-laws are hoping that she will be Wales’s answer to Nick Clegg and form a ConDem coalition with the Tories. Another Strong Woman in politics suffered a trauma recently as well – Theresa May went to Wrexham campaigning and was confronted by a young man who was an anti-hunt protestor. He blew a bugle in her presence and this was deemed to be such a threat to national security that he was arrested. Theresa is clearly even more delicate than the rest of them, so much for ‘strong and stable’.

Earlier today, Radio 4 broadcast a programme that mentioned that a number of ‘expert witnesses’ who lied in court are facing imprisonment. In view of the number of times that various Top Doctors lied about me on oath my ears pricked up at this news. It transpires that there has been industrial scale perjury going on with regard to insurance claims after car accidents and someone’s finally decided to round everybody up and prosecute them. It was mentioned that police and barristers knew that this was going on but ignored it, so now there may be prosecutions mounted against some of them as well. Oh well perhaps the days of those we know and love lying through their teeth in court with impunity in order to secure convictions against anyone who has discovered their extensive corruption might be drawing to a close. I read in the Daily Post online that HMP Berwyn is opening another wing with capacity for 700 inmates. You could house an awful lot of dishonest Top Doctors, Top Lawyers and Top Judges in there and there’d still be a spare cell for Peter Higson and Martin Jones to share.

Discussing the corruption of the vile ones brings me neatly onto the next thing that caught my eye in the Daily Post online, an article by the man who found the body of Sophie Hook, describing his memories of that event. Sophie was a seven year old girl who’s body was found washed up on the beach in Llandudno in July 1995. Howard Hughes, a man with learning disabilities, behaviour problems and dyslexia who had previously spent time in Bryn Estyn, one of the children’s homes targeted by the north Wales paedophile ring, is currently serving a 50 year prison sentence for her abduction, rape and murder. Howard Hughes’s case has been taken up by INNOCENT, an organisation concerned with miscarriages of justice. There is certainly an awful lot to be worried about regarding his conviction.

Sophie was on holiday with relatives who lived in Llandudno and she and her cousins were sleeping in a tent in the garden when she went missing. Her body was found washed up on a beach a few hours later and Howard Hughes was arrested a few hours after that. There was no forensic evidence at all against Hughes, just an awful lot of people who knew that he was a Wrong ‘Un and some witnesses of very questionable character. Before Sophie was killed however, Hughes’s life had already been touched many times by those we have known. Howard Hughes looked frightening – he had a chromosome abnormality (XYY) which caused him to grow quickly to a very great height. So he was very tall even as an early teen and by the time that he stopped growing he was 6ft 8ins. He attended a series of special schools, including some residential ones, and his father, who seemed to have difficulty coming to terms with his son’s disabilities, paid for extra tuition. Hughes did not gain any qualifications. When he was 16, it was alleged that Hughes took a seven year old boy into a derelict house, exposed himself, made indecent suggestions and attempted to strangle him. He was convicted of assault and was given a two year supervision order and was sent under the Mental Health Act to St Andrews Hospital, Northampton and then to Garth Angharad near Dolgellau. Both of these institutions have previously featured on this blog. St Andrews is a very troubled institution and has been so for many years. It has recently been the subject of a number of scandals involving the mistreatment and deaths of patients. I have a friend who grew up in Northampton and he told me that St Andrews had a reputation like the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, a lawless hell-hole. St Andrews featured in the Jeremy Bamber case in the 1980s (please see post ‘Family Annihilation’) and was alleged to have provided very substandard care to Jeremy Bamber’s sister. Garth Angharad of course was one of the personal prisons used by Dafydd and the paedophile ring (please see post ‘More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain’). A lot of people who complained about them seemed to end up in there, an establishment described as a ‘hospital for mentally abnormal criminals’. After his release Hughes lived with his mother in Colwyn Bay. By the age of 19, he had convictions for assault, burglary, theft, criminal damage, threatening behaviour, motoring offences and possession of weapons. Such a record sounds dreadful – but Hughes was living in north Wales in the 70s and 80s and was in the ‘care’ of the mental health services and children’s services, which were rife with corruption and concealing a paedophile ring to boot. At the time that Hughes clocked up this criminal record, Dafydd and the Top Doctors had tried to have me prosecuted for, among other things, trying to strangle a doctor, trying to stab a doctor, ‘five assaults’, criminal damage and threatening behaviour. I hadn’t done any of it – as a letter from their own corrupt lawyer Andrew Park at the Welsh Office admitted – but that didn’t stop them all documenting that I had. The only conviction that they secured against me was ‘staring at a social worker in Safeway’s’ no less – but then I was a young woman with two degrees and an excellent solicitor. They managed to cause quite enough trouble for me nonetheless – had I been 6ft 8ins with a learning disability I’m pretty sure that I too would have acquired a criminal record very similar to that of Hughes. It is also recorded that before Sophie’s murder, Hughes had been accused of indecently assaulting three girls aged three, five and nine and was interviewed in connection with five allegations ‘brought by or on behalf of children’. These cases were dropped by the CPS because it was considered that the children were too young to give reliable evidence. I would have thought that a nine year old was well capable of giving reliable evidence and indeed nine year olds do give evidence, so I wonder why that case went pear shaped. But it’s worth mentioning here that those we have known have a bit of a thing about ‘children’ (apart from running a paedophile ring themselves that is). At the cover-up which constituted the investigation into my complaint about Dafydd et al by Robert Bluglass (please see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE’), Dafydd told Bluglass that I had used ‘foul and abusive language’ in front of his young children and anyone who does such a thing is ‘not mentally normal’. I didn’t even know that Jones had young children when this allegation was made. Jones was not asked to provide any evidence for his allegation and I wasn’t even told that he’d made it – I only found out when I read the report. It was documented as fact. My post ‘A Trade In People – Between London And North Wales’ describes how a young woman from a family of three people with long-term mental health problems who were swindled out of their inheritance by a group of Top Doctors and lawyers was taken to Bethesda police station and accused of having a sexual interest in children within days of moving into the village. I know of another person who, after he made a complaint about the dreadful Tom Harney, a CPN with the aggressive and dysfunctional Arfon Community Mental Health Team, years later discovered that Harney had documented that he’d threatened to kill Harney and his family. This man didn’t know that Harney had a family. On one occasion, Dr X (Dr Tony Francis) accused me of ‘frightening children’. God knows how I did that, as with Dafydd and the foul and abusive language, there weren’t any children present at the scene for me to frighten even if I’d wanted to do so. There is among my medical records a letter written by Alun Davies, the manager of the mental health services, which has been cc’d to a number of people explaining that if Gwynedd Health Authority looked as though they are taking a ‘caring’ attitude towards me, this would stand them in good stead with the Courts next time they prosecuted me. Following the writing of this letter, the Top Doctors prosecuted me for making offensive telephone calls to a CPN in the Arfon Team, one Bridget Lloyd. I hadn’t done this and I was found not guilty (no I never received an apology). However, in her evidence to the Court, Bridget Lloyd stated that she was so terrified of me and that I was such a threat to her and her young children – again, more children that I didn’t know existed – that not only was Gwynedd Health Authority going to provide her and the legendary children with a safe house, but that she had been issued with a mobile phone to carry with her at all times lest she bumped into me and I attacked her. Some weeks ago when I received further bundles of evidence from my lawyers, I found a memo written by Bridget Lloyd just before this court case in which she states that I had only ever met her once, it was a very long time ago and that she was fairly sure that I wouldn’t recognise her. But that’s not what she said to the Court. This lot lie, they lie and they lie and they lie. And they really love introducing the concept of children into their tall stories. Indeed even Brown has had the children treatment from them. After we started publishing material about the practices of the mental health services and Brown provided a witness statement concerning their wrongdoing, a poison pen letter postmarked ‘Cardiff’ was sent to the authorities at the University where he works, which stated that he was a ‘known paedophile’ (please see post ‘A Nasty Ludicrous Poison Pen Letter’). Yes the paedophile gang and those who assisted them really enjoyed accusing other people of offences against children. Often people whom they had damaged themselves. Including possibly Howard Hughes.

Another thing that I need to mention here is those we have known take what a friend described as ‘pre-emptive action’ against people whom they might want to frame in the future. My own medical records show how Dafydd and Dr X (Dr Tony Francis) were very carefully building up a picture of me as a dangerous nutter for many months before they started court action against me. And it was all very skilfully done – letters detailing violent assaults that never took place were written and cc’d to people who had never met me. Those people would then make statements maintaining that they were frightened of me because I was ‘known’ to be ‘dangerous’ and then these statements were  used as evidence that I was so dangerous that people were frightened of me. I have collated all these letters and taken a note of the dates and what was cc’d to whom and it was very obviously co-ordinated and organised – and it began days after I made my first complaint about the mental health services. The friend who talked about ‘pre-emptive action’ also used a lawyer to obtain a full copy of his medical records and exactly the same process could be seen. Within days of making a formal complaint about the Arfon Team, it was documented that he had smashed down a door at their office and threatened female members of staff. He wasn’t told that this had been documented, but he was told that they were ‘upset’ because he had sworn at them and thrown a cushion across the room (which he did, he was at the end of his tether with them) and Tony Francis ordered him to write a letter of apology. He agreed – and Francis suggested wording which would be ‘helpful’. The wording that my friend was encouraged to use was to apologise for his ‘behaviour’ and for ‘upsetting and frightening’ staff. So he did as suggested. When, years later, he received his medical records, he discovered that his apology – as dictated by Francis – had been attached to an unsigned fallacious account of the incident, ie. the alleged smashing down of the door and threatening women. So this sequence of documents gave every impression that my friend had smashed down a door, threatened women and then realised how terrible his actions had been and he had thus guiltily apologised a few days later. This man is an accountant and a businessman. If those we have known fitted us up using these techniques I can only imagine the fun that they had with a man who had learning difficulties and literacy problems.

So, some time after all these offences against children that Hughes was ‘linked to’ but never charged with, Sophie was found dead and hours later Hughes was arrested. Within hours he was released on the grounds that the police had no evidence against him. But hours after that, they searched his home and very conveniently found indecent images of children, so Hughes was rearrested. Hours later he was charged with the abduction, rape and murder of Sophie on the basis of ‘further information’ that had been acquired. The details of this further information were not revealed. Hughes was remanded in custody until the trial in June 1996. There was no forensic evidence presented against him at his trial. However there were some very interesting witness statements. He had been spotted looking around on the ground in the area near the garden where Sophie and her cousins had pitched their tent. The witness claimed that Hughes had said that he was searching for some money that he dropped. It was stated at the trial that from that spot Hughes would have been able to hear the children talking in the tent – and that he would have heard them discussing how they were going to sleep in the tent. There was no evidence at all that he’d heard any such thing – but it was possible. You never know. It is recorded that later that day  ‘it is believed’ that Hughes tried to abduct six year old Alexandra Roberts who was performing handstands in a park but who then ran away. It is not explained why this was ‘believed’ – there is no record of any evidence that any such abduction attempt was made. (At one point on my medical records it is stated that ‘it is believed’ that I was in Risley Remand Centre after attacking someone with a knife. I’ve never been in Risley Remand Centre – not even as a visitor – and I’ve never attacked anyone with a knife. But someone believed that I was and I had. So it was written down and placed in my medical records.) At 2-55 am on the night that Sophie was sleeping in the tent, Hughes was spoken to by a policeman who saw him patrolling the promenade. Which was a convenient time for the policeman to have seen Hughes up and about in Llandudno, because Sophie’s cousin gave evidence stating that he woke up at 2-30 am and saw Sophie asleep beside him but when he woke up again at 7-15 am she was missing. At the trial, Hughes’s father – whom Hughes had not lived with for years – stated that Hughes had confessed to killing Sophie when he was taken into custody by the police. Hughes denied making this confession. Another witness, Jonathan Carroll – a career criminal who was in prison at the time that he testified – stated that he’d seen Hughes carrying a hessian sack along a street in Llandudno on the night of the murder and that he saw a glimpse of a naked body in the sack. He admitted that he was in the process of stealing property from someone’s garden when he saw the body in the sack which is presumably why he didn’t take action there and then. Unless seeing people strolling around Llandudno with a dead body in a sack is a day to day occurrence for him and thus he didn’t raise an eyebrow. A third witness was a convicted child sex offender, Michael Guidi, who told the Court that Hughes had boasted to him a few years before that he would like to rape a girl of four or five. Which sounds to me rather more like the fantasy of a child sex offender than a credible piece of evidence.

Miscarriages of justice tend to happen in cases where there is much emotion in the wake of a truly horrible crime. As well as hearing witness statements by Hughes’s father – who had always been rather desperate about his son – and two ne’er do wells, the jury also heard details of the injuries inflicted upon Sophie. It was stated that the injuries were inflicted before she died. Her arm and ankle were broken, her body was covered in bruises as though she’d been slapped about the face and head, she had internal bleeding and had been raped and sodomised. The Court was told that the sort of injuries that she sustained were normally seen on people who had been killed or injured in major car crashes. It was stated that her death had been as a result of manual strangulation and that her body had been thrown into the sea ‘to wash away forensic evidence’ (how would someone simply carrying out an examination of the body know this?). Sophie’s clothes were not found at the time that her body was. The court also heard that Sophie had been in so much pain before she died that there were teeth marks on both sides of her tongue and on the inside of her lower lip. So there will no doubt have been a lot of high emotion in that Court after hearing all this. Who was it who gave the evidence regarding Sophie’s injuries? None other than the illustrious Home Office pathologist Dr Donald Wayte. Wayte hit the UK media a few years before Sophie was killed because he announced publicly that nearly all children who were presumed to have died from cot death had been murdered by their parents. He had no evidence at all for saying this, but say it he did because He Knew. It caused a very big furore with many deeply distressed people who’d lost a child to cot death speaking publicly about the offence that Wayte caused. But no-one pointed out that the really worrying thing was that a pathologist who was responsible for giving evidence in murder trials felt able to spout hogwash on a subject about which he knew nothing on the basis of no evidence. And a few years later he gave evidence at the trial of Howard Hughes. But Wayte had a disregard for protocol on other matters too. I know someone whose mother was friends with Donald Wayte who, when this person was 15, was interested in ‘what goes on in a hospital’. So Donald Wayte took him in and showed him the lot. No worries about trivial matters such as ethics or procedure there… Interestingly enough, there is a Dr Avril Wayte who sits on the Board of CAIS along with Dafydd and Lucille – she’s a pathologist too. Very probably the wife or daughter of Donald. It’s a small world when you’re a Top Doctor.

Howard Hughes was found guilty of the abduction, rape and murder of Sophie Hook in July 1996. At Chester Crown Court. The Chester Crown Court where there was an attempt to imprison me after the Arfon Community Mental Health Team had perjured themselves (see post ‘The Arfon Community Mental Health Team’). The Chester Crown Court where the Rev Emyr Owen was found guilty and imprisoned for a crime that could not have happened (see post ‘Updates, Common Themes And News, May 5 2017’). The Chester Crown Court that was part of the Chester and Wales Circuit that was known to have a problem with corruption. But then the North Wales Police who investigated Sophie’s murder were also alleged to be riddled with corruption. The North Wales Police had been under the spotlight at the time of Hughes’s arrest and conviction. At the time of Sophie’s murder, the Jillings Report was being compiled. The Jillings Report was the investigation into the North Wales Child Abuse scandal that was commissioned by Clwyd County Council. The Chief Constable of North Wales had refused to co-operate with the enquiry and the police had withheld 130 boxes of files from the enquiry panel. Jillings and his team encountered such obstruction and difficulties during their investigation that they nearly resigned. The Chair of Social Services and the County Secretary and Solicitor told the North Wales Police and the Home Office that what were described as ‘profoundly serious allegations’ against the police should not be investigated. The Jillings Report was famously not published after it was completed in 1996 on the basis of legal advice given to Clwyd County Council. They were effectively told that what had gone on was so bad that they should refuse to publish any of it and destroy all copies of the Report. One month after Clwyd Council accepted this legal advice, a reorganisation of the local authorities in north Wales very conveniently resulted in Clwyd Council being dissolved. At this point the Independent newspaper began calling for a public inquiry. In June 1996 William Hague, the Secretary of State for Wales, announced the North Wales Child Abuse Enquiry. The following month Howard Hughes was convicted and imprisoned.

But north Wales was going a bit mad between 1994 and 1996 anyway. The North Wales Hospital Denbigh was closing down and Dafydd was completely losing it – well there were all those people illegally detained out there, he must have wondered what he was going to do with them. Furthermore people just would not stop making allegations that they had been sexually abused whilst in children’s homes in north Wales – and those people had started turning up dead. The most well known of these people outside of Wales was Mark Humphreys. At the end of 1994, Gordon Anglesea, a senior police officer with the North Wales Police, sued Private Eye and The Independent for libel after they accused him of being a paedophile. Mark gave evidence that Anglesea was indeed a paedophile. Anglesea won the case. Mark was found dead two months later. Last year Gordon Anglesea was imprisoned – for sexually abusing children. He died in prison a few months after his conviction. Gordon Anglesea lived at Colwyn Bay – just down the road from Llandudno! The North Wales Police HQ was at Colwyn Bay as well! As for the lives of those of us who had dared complain about the mental health services – well it was in 1994 that the mental health services started moving heaven and earth yet again to have me convicted of something. Anything would do, it didn’t really matter what. I was charged with making the offensive phone calls to Bridget Lloyd at this time and Dr Tony Francis – who was one of the people who insisted that I should be arrested and charged – then helpfully wrote a report for the Court recommending what should be done WHEN I was found guilty. Only I was cleared, so that plan was out of the window. Regular readers of the blog will remember Mary Wynch, the lady who was illegally imprisoned in the North Wales Hospital for a year and who sued Dafydd and the Home Office. Well after the demands in Parliament for an investigation into her case suddenly died away, it was in 1995 that Mary, by now elderly and financially ruined, was given a pittance of a final payment authorised by the Home Office and told to finally piss off (see post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’).

The judge who presided over Howard Hughes’s trial was Justice Richard Curtis. In his summing up he denounced Hughes as a ‘fiend’. But from the minute that Sophie’s body was found – before Donald Wayte waxed lyrical about the detail of her injuries and people branched out into a bit of blue sky thinking regarding the reason why her body had been thrown into the sea – the police seemed to have a pretty good idea of the sort of person who would be arrested for this crime. The man in charge of the investigation, Detective Superintendent Eric Jones, declared that the person responsible for Sophie’s murder was ‘a brute who must be caught – quickly’. They found the brute that they were looking for a few hours later when they arrested Howard Hughes at the house that he shared with his mother. A remarkably snappy bit of detective work there from a police force who at that very time was refusing to co-operate with a major investigation into a possible paedophile ring operating in the institutions in which the brute that they arrested had spent time himself. As a learning disabled child. Who even if he had raped and murdered Sophie Hook would probably have never known that forensic evidence would be lost if the body was thrown into the sea and her clothes were not found. I tell you who would know all about destroying forensic evidence though – someone with knowledge of police investigations. Such as a policeman who was a paedophile.

In September 1997 the Court of Appeal granted leave to Hughes to appeal against his conviction. Six months later north Wales was further outraged when the brute claimed that he’d been abused whilst in Bryn Estyn and launched a claim for £50,000 compensation. Two weeks after the brute launched this claim, the Court of Appeal rejected his bid to have his convictions quashed. A second appeal was made in 2001 – the Court decided that there was no grounds to quash the convictions. The judges at this appeal ruled that there must be no more contestations unless new evidence was discovered.

So Howard Hughes remains in prison – he’s now serving a 50 year sentence thanks to the intervention of dear old Blunkett when he was Home Secretary – on the word of a career criminal, a convicted child sex offender and his father, whom he didn’t seem to have the best of relationships with. And upon the fact that he was obviously a fiend and a brute, after a life at the hands of a thoroughly corrupt mental health service, a children’s service that had a paedophile gang operating in it’s children’s homes and a police force that had a well-established reputation for corruption and that employed a senior officer who was a child molester himself. But if Hughes is ever let out of prison someone might have to ask who did kill Sophie and how did Hughes ever end up serving a fifty year sentence on the personal recommendation of David Blunkett on the basis of such flimsy evidence…

 

 

How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?

I’m indebted to a reader from Bangor who has sent me this – as Cyril Fletcher would have said on ‘That’s Life’ in the 1970s, only at this point Fletcher would have made reference to a newspaper cutting with innuendo before the camera cut to Esther banging on about child abuse (and she really couldn’t ever remember that woman who popped up recently in the press informing us that she’d told Esther all about Savile years ago). However my reader has sent me a link to the North Wales Chronicle, which on May 14 published the results of a Betsi staff ‘survey’. Like many such surveys, one only has to have one brief read of the ‘results’ to conclude that it is flaky. The results are presented as a triumph for the Betsi Board – the staff ‘have a higher opinion of their bosses than they did three years ago’ (except that we are then told that a comparison is being made to the same type of survey conducted in 2013, which is more than three years ago). However, despite having a ‘higher opinion’ of their bosses, on all the following categories the staff have ‘far less confidence’ than in 2013: managers listening to employees, involving them in decisions, encouraging them to suggest ways of improving the service and managing change. Which pretty much sums up the role of the managers – so in what way did staff have a ‘higher opinion’ of them? We are not told. We are told however that 3,252 staff responded to the survey. That is a very small proportion of Betsi staff. I read a few weeks ago that they employ 6000 staff in their mental health division alone. So on that basis alone, statistically this survey is meaningless (although it is meaningless in other ways as well, because of the way in which the questions are phrased). Interestingly enough, the survey revealed that 82% of respondents stated that they were encouraged to report errors or incidents. This is not backed up by evidence. This blog hears again and again from staff confirming that the most appalling failings are being concealed and that managers do not want to hear ‘bad news’. The Tawel Fan scandal was revealed by a nurse who made an undercover recording – she did this because she tried to raise a concern internally about a member of staff assaulting a patient but was ignored. After she blew the whistle she was suspended, maliciously reported to the police which resulted in her being arrested but never charged and received anonymous threats. She now works in England. No member of staff reported any of the failings or abuses that I and other patients witnessed when I spent months – completely unnecessarily – in the Heddfan Unit. (Neither was my subsequent complaint investigated properly.) In recent inquests on patients who have died whilst in the ‘care’ of the Betsi, staff have lied in an attempt to conceal failings. Furthermore, a look at the Ombudsman’s website reveals that many complaints have been upheld against the Betsi. None of this would be happening if staff really were encouraged to report errors and incidents. The survey entertainingly tells us that 88% of staff are ‘happy to go the extra mile at work when required’. So 12% of them aren’t – is this not worrying in a care setting where ‘going the extra mile’ might be needed in a life-saving situation? So what if you’re the patient who has the unexpected heart attack when one of the 12% is just going off duty, putting their coat on and leaving? (I did once see a patient having an unexpected heart attack in the Hergest Unit. He keeled over and was in very great trouble. The consultant psychiatrist on duty watched, he actually watched. He then ordered a junior psychiatrist to carry out CPR – and the junior psychiatrist wasn’t sure how to do it. It was a nurse who was summoned by another patient who knew what to do, did it and almost certainly saved the man’s life. As she did her bit, the two psychiatrists strolled off. I presume they were both part of the 12%). Now for another 12%! It is of course the 12% of respondents who claim to have experienced ‘physical violence’ at work from ‘patients, service users, relatives or members of the public’. I do not believe this figure. If it were true, people who have spent time in hospitals – like me and correspondents to this blog – would all have witnessed a number of physical assaults on staff. We haven’t. I have only ever witnessed one ‘assault’ on a member of staff and that was when a confused, psychotic man threw a book at the dreadful Raj Sambhi. And even that might have been avoided if Sambhi had any communication skills. I have asked other patients and they too have never witnessed patients/families/the public assaulting staff – we have all witnessed staff being sworn at and sometimes spoken to very rudely, but not assaulted. However a number of us have been assaulted ourselves (usually in the Hergest Unit) or witnessed other patients being assaulted by staff. A number of us have experienced staff claiming that we had assaulted them when we didn’t. My own medical records contain letters from the Top Doctors own lawyers telling them that they had to stop documenting in affidavits that I had assaulted them because there was no evidence that I had (it didn’t stop the Top Doctors though, they just ignored their own legal advice). When Keith Thomson ad Martin Jones were running the North West Wales NHS Trust, florid allegations were constantly made about patients ‘attacking’ and ‘assaulting’ staff. This was routine if a patient had made a complaint. The system was particularly effective because the RCN ‘rep’ who was responsible for collecting these ‘statistics’ and giving lurid press interviews was a former Hergest nurse who was unable to work through disability but was offered the job as the RCN rep as a deal. He continued to receive a salary in return for concealing the mountain of shite at the Hergest and maintaining that the place was full of nutters launching assaults on the staff. I knew one of this man’s colleagues who was invalided out of nursing with exactly the same physical problem – Thomson and Martin refused to let him stay on. But then he and his wife, who was also a psychiatric nurse, had been honest enough to raise concerns about the standard of care at the Hergest Unit and had stated that the Unit was dangerous. The survey tells us that 17% of staff had experienced ‘harassment or bullying or abuse at work from patients/relatives/members of the public’. This tells us nothing – the Betsi construct patients writing repeated letters of complaint if their complaints aren’t dealt with as ‘harassment’ and psychotic patients swearing as ‘abuse’. Requests from patients that staff ignore are constructed as ‘bullying’ if patients repeat the requests. ‘Harassment’, ‘bullying’ and ‘abuse’ are very much in the eye of the beholder and the NHS uses very elastic definitions of these. However, the survey did state that 30% of staff are unwell due to work-related stress – which, if true, is an extraordinarily high number.

I first began to take an interest in ‘staff surveys’ in the NHS in north Wales when I found out what Keith Thomson and Martin Jones were doing in terms of ‘statistics’ in the North West Wales NHS Trust. But then something else happened that caused me to question very closely all ‘staff opinion’. A man called Gren Kershaw, the CEO of the Trust that was responsible for managing Ysbyty Glan Clwyd before the Betsi was formed, was voted by the staff in (I think) a Nursing Times ‘survey’ as ‘best CEO’ of an NHS Trust in the UK. I knew two people at the time who both knew him. One was a researcher at Bangor University who was a former nurse who had been serially sacked from a number of jobs and who was ‘leading’ a project in partnership with the NHS which subsequently imploded. She described Gren as ‘great’. The other person was a PhD student who told me that the ‘elderly wards’ at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd were terrible and that there was a massive cover-up – his sister was a nurse at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and was advising the wider family not to allow their grandmother to be treated at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Then I met someone at a seminar whose elderly terminally ill father had been in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd – she described him being dumped on a commode and left there, ending up crying such was his distress, only to be insulted by the nurses. So she complained – and received aggression herself. This lady removed her father from the ‘care’ of Gren’s empire and he was cared for at home – they were fortunately a family who were able to afford to do this. But then there was evidence visible from space suggesting that all was not well in Grenland, despite his accolade. A retired academic from Bangor University, Professor Clare Wenger, was admitted to a ward for ‘older people’ in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and was truly horrified by what she saw. Clare Wenger was a specialist in old age care and knew bad practice when she saw it. And she certainly saw it at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. She compiled a detailed dossier listing all the gross events that she had witnessed and sent it to over 100 academic contacts so appalled was she. She appeared in the Daily Post and on Radio 4. The main thrust of her complaint was that which she had witnessed happening to other patients – extreme neglect. She did complain about the disrespect shown to herself but she took the view that she was a retired professor and could pretty much defend her own corner but the other very vulnerable patients couldn’t. Yet Clare Wenger was roundly abused and derided for daring to question the dear old NHS. Ysbyty Glan Clwyd entered a state of Complete Denial and constructed Clare Wenger as an insufferable snob who wanted ‘special treatment’ and the media followed suit. She was sneeringly referred to as the ‘lady professor’ who should have ‘gone private’. Now even if she had been the snobbiest old cow on earth, what everybody missed was that she wasn’t demanding special treatment for herself, she had been expressing serious concerns about the treatment meted out to the other patients. Nonetheless she was shot down in flames. Which is utterly bizarre, because not only is Clare Wenger an old age specialist but she has directed a number of major research projects concerned with the care and support of older people funded by the EU, the Department For International Development – and the Department of Health. Yes, the Department of Health paid Clare Wenger to lead a longitudinal study that lasted over 20 years looking at the ageing process and informal support. But when she dared raise concern about the abuse and neglect of elderly patients at Ysbyty Gwynedd that she had witnessed at first hand she was blown out of the water. So Clare was a stuck up cow and Gren was applauded in Nursing Times. And a few years later, the scandal at Tawel Fan broke. A ward for the elderly at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd where patients with untreated fractures crawled around naked on a floor covered in faeces and urine whilst nurses swore at them and discussed their sex lives. Probably the very same nurses who had voted Gren Top of The Chief Execs. No wonder they liked him – he shelled out the salaries and ignored complaints whilst they did sod all.

So what’s happened to Gren since the horrible truth about the hospital that he managed for so many years has become very public? He’s set up a management consultancy of course! Gren Kershaw Consulting Ltd. Registered office: 18 Bryntirion Drive, Prestatyn. Current accounts show £78-05k in the bank – that’s down £30.78k on the previous year, so Gren must have hit hard times. Furthermore, a Mr Grenville Robert Davison Kershaw was a company director from 18 March 2009 until 31 December 2015, whereupon he resigned. But on 31 December 2015, one Mrs Elaine Kershaw was appointed company director and she still is at present. If any readers could enlighten me regarding the scam that I suspect that Gren and his wife are operating I’d appreciate it.

As for the serially dismissed ex-nurse who was mates with Gren – well she has set up an ‘executive coaching’ business and her website boasts a rather untruthful CV. The Betsi have commissioned her to provide ‘training’ for the Top Doctors. I think even the Top Doctors would have seen through that ‘training’.

Those Who Care Are Concerned

Yesterday the Guardian reported that NHS staff were quitting ‘because pay was so poor’ – it was alleged that some NHS staff were using food banks and that some were working stacking shelves in supermarkets. This was attributed to the recent policy of limiting pay awards in the NHS to 1% and it was claimed that this was ‘damaging the NHS’. It was reported that in particular, people with mental health problems were experiencing delays and setbacks. This story emanated from claims made by an organisation called ‘NHS Providers’ which was described as representing almost all of England’s Hospitals, Mental Health Trusts and Ambulance Trusts, their spokesman being the Chief Executive, Chris Hopson. Hopson also turned up on Radio 4’s Today programme with his tale of woe, where again the alleged deleterious effect on mental health care in particular was commented upon. It was said that in recent months, the Medical Royal Colleges, the Health Trade Unions and health charities such as Cancer Research UK have all highlighted the effects on patient care of shortages of doctors, nurses, GPs and paramedics. Various representatives of the Medical Royal Colleges have previously been outed on this blog as having taken part in the neglect and abuse of patients – for example the delightful Professor Rob Poole of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I have also provided details of very bad behaviour – and research fraud – among leading lights in the Cancer Research Campaign, now known as Cancer Research UK. One of the people who starred was Nicholas Wright, who has picked up a knighthood. Furthermore, if doctors and GPs are either stacking shelves in supermarkets or using food banks they will be doing this for reasons other than being short of money – consultants and GPs all hit about 100k pa and many of them earn an awful lot more. Junior doctors and nurses do not earn as much as that but do not actually fall within the category of the ‘low paid’ – now a lot of them are leaving the NHS but talk to them about their reasons for doing this. It is nothing to do with pay. As I have stated repeatedly on this blog it is nearly always because they have standards which they feel are being compromised by the dysfunction, chaos, bullying and poor patient care that pervades so much of the NHS. The traditional get out clause of junior doctors to avoid the bullying and bullshit that rained down upon them was of course to enter General Practice, where they would in the end be self-employed and have some degree of control over their lives. But there were still hazards to be negotiated – one of the most conscientious medical students that I knew when I was young was sacked from his first post in General Practice. He remarked wryly that the main priority of the senior partner in the practice was the state of the carpet tiles and that medicine was far too much of a conservative profession to allow any trainee to disagree. This man was no firebrand – his ambition at school was to practice medicine for a while and then become a Conservative MP. He is now a hospital consultant and interestingly enough a Conservative Councillor who enjoys writing to the Daily Telegraph and Private Eye. His patients also report that he is a very good doctor – but he managed to get sacked. As for nurses – for years, nurses have been leaving nursing for other jobs if they cannot stomach what they are witnessing at work. They frequently move into teaching or lecturing, but some are so desperate to not remain in nursing that they do take up roles outside of the professions. The first person in this category that I encountered was a nurse who in 1984 was working as a waitress – she preferred to do that than participate in what was happening at Ysbyty Gwynedd which was where she had previously been employed. I have since met many more like her. Not one left nursing because of the pay – indeed if you are a nurse it is quite possible to end up on a very high salary if you go into NHS management and many of them do, particularly those with absolutely no principles at all (I’m thinking of one Grace Lewis-Parry here…). There are some very poorly paid people working in the NHS who may well be using food banks or working in a second job as well, particularly if they are the only wage earner in a family with children, but they are healthcare assistants, porters, cleaners, canteen staff and receptionists. They are treated like dirt although they are often playing a key role and I really don’t think that Mr Hopson the CEO from NHS Providers was thinking of them – he certainly didn’t mention them. Another person contributed to the debate as well, declaring the 1% pay restraint policy ‘stupid’ – that was Norman Lamb, the LibDem MP. Norman Lamb in recent months became well-known for his support for Sara Ryan and her family – Sara is the mother of Connor Sparrowhawk, the young man with learning disabilities and epilepsy who died as a result of neglect, along with hundreds of other patients, whilst in the care of Southern Health. Blame was attributed to Katrina Percy, the CEO, along with the rest of a deceitful dysfunctional Trust Board and a lying psychiatrist who simply moved to Ireland to practice after her cock-ups resulted in Connor’s death. Come on Norman, you know damn well that the death of Connor – and all the other patients – were nothing at all to do with pay restraint. The whole bloody lot of those responsible were on enormous salaries. Connor’s mum was a modestly paid academic and on her twitter feed frequently commented that she would have been sacked long ago if she’d been as bad at her job as Katrina Percy and co were – furthermore Connor’s mum had managed to look after Connor herself for most of his life without him dying. That only happened when she left him in the care of ‘professionals’.

One of the final item’s on the Today programme was another mental health related report, featuring interviews with both the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation and a ‘service user’ called Kerry. The report centred around people sectioned under the Mental Health Act being detained in police cells and Kerry was introduced as someone who had endured that experience. Kerry was actually pretty brilliant, she was very articulate, very frank about the horrors and serious deficiencies of the mental health system – but Nick Robinson the interviewer cut her off mid-flow. Because she’d already spoken and they’d run out of time. But the reason that they’d run out of time was that Nick had allotted so much of the time to the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation – who obviously was going to speak for service users, rather than the one very competent service user being allowed to reveal to the nation just how bad the whole system is. I noticed that in the Mail Online yesterday the Mental Health Foundation was also expressing concern about the Serious Problem of Women Drinking Prosecco At Lunchtime. Now if an elderly male Methodist Minister who was temperance wrote an article expressing similar concerns, he’d be publicly pilloried at worst, a figure of fun at best. But if it’s a ‘mental health charity’ no-one comments on how ridiculous and condescending it is. The Mental Health Foundation also stated that ‘1 in 3’ people will suffer from mental health problems – my God, the figure has gone up, the dreadful Paul Farmer and MIND always claimed it was ‘1 in 4’! We’re all going mad, especially women – the only solution is for the Gov’t to part with millions in the direction of the Mental Health Foundation and MIND, appoint them all to Gov’t Advisory Committees and then give them gongs. Meanwhile they will remain completely silent about the serious neglect and abuse of people who really are mentally ill (far fewer than ‘1 in 4’, which is of course why they can be so shamefully treated without an outcry) by the mental health services themselves – people like Kerry, whose opinions mattered less than those of the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation…. And just to show how effective Radio 4 is at raising awareness and combatting stigma, directly after the Today programme Andrew Marr hosted Start The Week and one of his guests described how he’d written a book about a conman who had swindled him who was a ‘bipolar maniac’ who spent huge quantities of money shamelessly. It’s called acute mania, a serious illness which should not be conflated with criminality and a lot fewer than ‘1 in 4’ or ‘1 in 3’ experience it.

All these dire predictions of the consequences of the UK Gov’t not giving mental health professionals even more money than they get already (God knows what they’re doing with it, one look at the state of the nation’s mental health system makes it quite clear that it certainly isn’t being used to benefit patients) has come at a very opportune time. A few days ago I was sent an excellent PhD thesis written by Dr Vicky Long, completed some years ago whilst she was at the University of Warwick and I have been working my way through it. The thesis is entitled ‘Challenging The Public Representation of Mental Illness, 1870-1970’ and it provides much evidence for a number of things that I’ve noticed myself during my various encounters with the UK’s caring sharing mental health services. Particularly interesting is Chapter Two of Vicky’s thesis, which consists of a detailed analysis of how mental health patients were represented within the literature produced by the National Asylum Workers Union. This is a good deal more relevant to present day concerns than non-historical/sociological geeks might imagine. NAWU later evolved into MHIWU (Mental Hospital and Institutional Workers Union), which in turn evolved into COHSE (Confederation of Health Service Employees), whose successor was UNISON, one of the most powerful players in today’s trade union movement, let alone simply within the NHS arena.

Vicky’s analysis very clearly demonstrates that this Union skilfully controlled how ‘mental patients’ were represented in the wider media, which in turn dictated how they were perceived by the general public and that the union nearly always did this in order to improve the pay and conditions of the ‘attendants’ ie. mental health nurses, rather than to improve the care and treatment of patients. Vicky’s analysis and the material that she presents from the late 1920s onwards is striking – we think of this era as being ancient history where mental health care is concerned, but the attitudes and even some of the language still exists in mental health ‘care’ today. As I read Vicky’s chapter, memories of scenarios and phrases used by staff that I had witnessed and heard at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and at Ysbyty Gwynedd came back to me.

Vicky analysed in detail the journal of the NAWU as this was the forum for representations of mental illness among asylum attendants. The NAWU was formed in 1910 as a reaction to the poor working conditions of the attendants and it focused on the gulf between the privileges and pay enjoyed by the asylum Medical Superintendents (Gwynne Williams the lobotomist and Dafydd Alun Jones in the case of the North Wales Hospital, although of course they were Medical Superintendents later on in the century) and the very poor pay and conditions of the attendants. Very early on in the NAWU’s history, it seems that the working conditions of the attendants were so bad that they did actually have a lot of fellow feeling for the ‘lunatics’. However this didn’t last. Vicky’s analysis highlights other phenomena that can still be seen among mental health professionals – battles between different unions, the influence of gender and fights over status between nurses and social workers. The NAWU journal was strongly socialist and working class and viewed membership of the rival Asylum Workers Union as an act of class betrayal. The whole thrust of Vicky’s argument is that the living conditions of the patients were only scrutinised when the situation of the staff improved.

The usual strategy of the NAWU to obtain improved pay and conditions was to focus on the unpleasantness of the patients. In 1912 there was a reference to the ‘antics of deluded and degraded ‘mental deficients’ and ‘moral perverts’ and nurses are frequently described as having to ‘manage’ difficult patients. Vicky notes that in the main text used for training asylum attendants, the terms ‘nursing’, ‘management’ and ‘control’ of patients are used interchangeably. (My actions in complaining about the north Wales mental health services are referred to on a number of occasions in my medical records as ‘antics’ and the records are dripping with references to the ‘management’ of me, as well as yes, the occasional reference to the need to ‘control’ me. Because I was writing letters of complaint – about criminal conduct on the part of mental health professionals.) In 1929, as part of the description of the job of a mental nurse, it is stated that ‘patients may be unpleasant, abusive, filthy in habits and language, or ungrateful, suspicious, unwilling and resistive….sympathy, kindliness and tact must be abundant to overflowing for the mental patient…’ Again, I have heard many of these words used by mental health professionals to describe patients. I was constantly viewed as a problem for being ‘suspicious’ and ‘unwilling’ – although the staff using such descriptions for me were detaining me illegally in the North Wales Hospital after Dr Dafydd Alun Jones had concocted a ‘deal’ with a corrupt police officer at Bangor Police Station – the nurses had documented all this in detail on my records and had also stated their unhappiness with being dragged into the ‘deal’. Yet I was pathologised for being suspicious of their motives and not wanting to waste my time in their prison. Again and again I have heard staff complain about patients who swear – indeed, at the ‘hearing’ held by Robert Bluglass into the investigation of my complaint about the North Wales Hospital (which didn’t actually cover most of my complaint or the most serious aspects of it), as part of his rationale for labelling me ‘mentally ill’, Jones maintained that I’d used ‘foul and abusive language’ in front of his young children and that anyone who does this is not mentally normal. (How I managed to swear in front of his children I do not know – I did not at the time know that he had children and had certainly never met them. But Jones was not required to provide evidence of any of it – he said that I did it, so obviously I did.) Bluglass agreed that my language was indeed shocking. Bluglass has a daughter Amanda, who fancies herself as an avant garde artist. A few years ago she took to displaying her creations on the internet. One of them was a sampler of a county cottage, below which was embroidered ‘Happy Fucking Holidays’. Interestingly enough, in his final report in which Bluglass avoided commenting on many of the gross things that had happened to me at the hands of Dafydd et al although there was documentary evidence of these things, Bluglass summed up by stating that ‘doctors and others are caring individuals’ – these were people who had illegally imprisoned me, assaulted me, repeatedly lied about me, threatened me and then when that didn’t work tried to bribe me. Oh and they were concealing the activities of a paedophile ring as well. But their goodwill and patience had no bounds…. Another reference from an early edition of the NAWU journal represents patients as ‘alien, foreign, devious and different from normal people’. The SEN in Denbigh who eventually assaulted me, Stephen Rose, at one point described me as ‘scheming and devious’ (it was never explained why) – and in another reference to my alleged ‘abnormality’, on one occasion Jones lost his temper with me (because I didn’t succumb to the threats and bribery) and he yelled at me ‘any normal woman would have some respect’.

Again and again in the NAWU journal severely ill patients are represented as anti-social and violent and this was repeatedly used to justify better wages and conditions In 1928, the journal dealt with allegations that patients were being brutally treated and abused by attendants by alleging that it was the patients who were violently attacking the staff. Arguments were mounted that attendants deserved better pay and conditions not because they were skilled and professional but because they were managing dangerous violent individuals. Accounts are based on conjecture – a ‘seemingly quiet patient’ may suddenly become ‘violent to themselves or others’, ‘another blow’ from a ‘violent patient’ ‘could well have been fatal’. On one occasion a patient less dishonoured than others – a soldier with shell-shock – published in another journal an account of the violence and abuse that he’d witnessed being dealt out by the staff in an asylum. The NAWU responded by stressing the unreliability of patients accounts. This is all very familiar. At the North Wales Hospital and at Ysbyty Gwynedd, again and again I and other patients made representations about staff assaults on ourselves and other patients that we had witnessed. Throughout the course of thirty years the response from the NHS authorities was the same – either it was the patients who had attacked the staff, or the patients ‘had misunderstood’ the situation, or the patients were all mates and were colluding with each other. On the occasion that staff injured me whilst I was a patient in the Hergest Unit, my injuries were not documented and I was not released from a locked ward until the injuries had healed. When I tried to telephone both the police and a friend to report the assault the telephone was disconnected. The assault upon me was never investigated. Despite all the allegations of ‘violent’ patients made by the north Wales mental health services and the constant stream of scare stories and confected statistics regarding ‘attacks’ on staff that the north Wales mental health services have placed in the local media, I have only ever witnessed one assault upon a member of staff, which was when a very psychotic disorientated man detained on a locked ward threw a book at a psychiatrist. That has been the sum of it. Staff are sometimes assaulted by patients, but it is not a regular occurrence. Furthermore, one of the more robust pieces of research that has been done into assaults on staff by patients in psychiatric units – there has been virtually no research conducted into abuse of patients by staff which is extraordinary really, it can only be that it just doesn’t happen! – concluded that in every case, the assault had been precipitated by staff being extremely aggressive or rude to patients. As for ‘quiet’ patients being suddenly ready to launch into terrifying violence – again, another allegation that was levelled at me. When people outside of the mental health services volubly stated that the lurid allegations made about me by mental health staff were inconsistent with what they knew of me, they were told that they ‘didn’t know’ what I was like, or that I had ‘fooled’ them or best of all that I was ‘charismatic’. Only the mental health services could see my black, black heart. But interestingly enough I have recently obtained documents from my lawyer which include letters from the lawyers that the mental health services were using themselves telling them that there was no evidence that I had ever assaulted anyone and that they had to stop saying this in affidavits. Not that it stopped the ludicrous allegations, the psychiatrists concerned then progressed to stating that they thought that I was going to kill them. No evidence at all, although a lot of evidence that they had repeatedly lied about me, even on oath – but nonetheless I could murder the whole lot of them in their beds, they just knew it.

The journal of the NAWU also contains information very reminiscent of the way that psychiatrists today describe patients who allegedly have ‘personality disorders’: ‘…cannot support themselves…cannot resist criminal impulses…not actively dangerous but are a menace to the community…no idea of…social obligations…a danger to women and children…anti-social tendencies and habits of this kind are not be cured…’ or indeed the ‘social failure’ of an individual. This could have all come from a present day psychiatric textbook.

One Claude Bartlett was elected President of the NAWU in 1926 – and he stayed in that post until 1962 no less. Throughout this time he remained a mental charge nurse and with the exception of his time as Chairman of the TUC in 1959, he restricted his activities to the field of health care. Bartlett was one of the most vocal calling for the amalgamation of the health services trade union into COHSE and he was a member of the Royal Commission whose recommendations were incorporated into the Mental Health Act of 1959. In 1959 Bartlett was stating that he was pleased with the large advances made by the Union regarding the representation of mental nurses as professionals. He commented that ‘I often wonder whether some of my trade union colleagues are not trying to break down barriers which have long since ceased to exist. It is a far cry from the lunatic attendant of less than 50 years ago to the trained and qualified psychiatric nurse of today. I am naturally proud to have played some part, small perhaps, in raising a once lowly occupation into a skilled and honoured vocation’. That was in 1959. During the 1990s a nurse at the Hergest Unit who was one of the best staff there, who really was skilled and professional, was regularly ORDERED by Dr X and Dr David Healy to telephone the police to complain about distressed patients. On one of those occasions, it was because a patient had said that he was so suicidal that he felt like chopping a gas pipe. He ended up in Walton prison on remand, although all charges were eventually dropped against him. None of those grandiose, arrogant psychiatrists saw the nurse’s role as ‘a skilled and honoured vocation’. And that nurse did not feel able to challenge any of them, although she saw the consequences of their actions. Interestingly enough the same nurse, after she retired, told me that she never applied for a position as a lecturer in Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences because in north Wales she witnessed the very nurses who did not have good skills with patients applying for jobs there – her perception was that they didn’t actually like looking after patients and weren’t actually very good at it, so they became nurse tutors instead.

In 1959 and the early 1960s, COHSE’s allegedly patient centred view was undermined, suggesting that once more, the main concern of psychiatric nurses was their working conditions. At the 1959 conference, the new Mental Health Bill was debated and a conference resolution expressed concerns that there was inadequate funding for the proposed measures and the hope that mental nurses skills would be utilised in the new community care system. Psychiatric nurses were well aware that other professions might usurp their roles and threaten their careers. COHSE tried to protect nurses by framing themselves as crusaders for the users of the mental health services and leaders of public opinion. Theresa May has of course announced that a new Mental Health Act is to be passed, which will lead to far fewer people being detained against their will and will also enable them to refuse ‘treatment’. This has of course come hot on the heels of scandal after scandal in the UK mental health services, of numerous accounts of neglect and abuse and of course deaths of patients in the care of the mental health services. Have perhaps the mental health professions realised that they are about to be cut out of the picture and made redundant – because patients certainly aren’t going to agree to the shite abusive treatment that is forced upon them at present if they are given a choice – and is that why they are all busy reminding us at the moment of how they only have the concerns of patients at heart? And that the patients are Suffering because mental health professionals aren’t being paid enough? Oh, by the way, in the late 50s/60s when COHSE were worried about their jobs and pay, they organised demonstrations and pickets. Stand by Theresa, there’ll be a March through central London to show us all how much they Care – all the usual culprits will be there, the BMA, the RCN, the Royal Colleges, MIND and Paul bloody Farmer, Peter Beresford and Rachel Perkins and poor old Jeremy Corbyn will be completely taken in by the whole lot of them and will join in, thinking that he’s helping people who Care. Meanwhile psychiatric patients will continue to be tasered whilst sectioned in hospital, suffocated to death whilst being ‘restrained’, prescribed ‘medication’ that harms or even kills them etc etc. In fact I think I heard on the Today programme that a National Health Action Party has been established to field candidates in the forthcoming election. The Top Doctors must be in trouble then, is there a scandal on the way? Has one of them been arrested for doing something that they shouldn’t have, perhaps removing perfectly healthy bits of the body after telling the unsuspecting patient that they had cancer a la Dr Ian Paterson? Or has another Harold Shipman been discovered?

As for Claude Bartlett’s claims in 1959 that asylums and the mental nursing profession had been transformed, well I think that needs to be taken with a very big pinch of salt. After a visit to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, the Health Minister Enoch Powell was so appalled by what he saw that he is reputed to have told the assembled ‘professionals’ that he would not allow them to do this to people – Powell returned to London and announced the proposed closure of 75,000 psychiatric hospital beds over the next 15 years. (Of course when Powell witnessed something terrible, Gwynne the lobotomist was Medical Superintendent at Denbigh. Presumably Gwynne was so used to imprisoning, neglecting, abusing and indeed killing people that he had become complete immune to the idea that some people would not appreciate what was going on, hence he felt able to proudly throw open the doors of Denbigh to the Health Minster. Obviously the result of years of cap-doffing and toadying from small town society who could rely on the hideous Gwynne to deal with anyone who was a bit of a nuisance to them. COHSE really freaked out at Powell’s proposals and resurrected the spectre of the dangerous patient (they forgot their user-friendly bit) and wanted nurses paid danger money. COHSE were particularly irked with Powell’s proposals to only place psychiatric patients in Rampton, Broadmoor and Moss Side as a last resort. They also maintained that Powell’s policy of discharging patients on prescription would lead to a nation of drug addicts. Once more psychiatric patients were represented as violent criminals and Vicky Long suggests that this stemmed more out of the fear of the threat to the jobs, future and status of the mental nursing profession than any concern over more outpatient care. Again, I saw something similar when I was a patient at the North Wales Hospital in 1986/87. At the time the UK Gov’t were making much noise regarding closing down places like Denbigh and transferring patients into community care. All the nurses at Denbigh were raging about this, stating that the facilities in the community weren’t there (which was to be fair completely true) and that some of the very vulnerable patients would never cope (which again they didn’t). But the same nurses were concealing and colluding with the most appalling wrongdoing on the part of Dafydd Alun Jones et al – they KNEW that patients were in there illegally banged up, never having been assessed by anyone but had simply been arrested because they’d crossed the path of Jones or one of his mates. They KNEW that some of those patients were not ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘deluded’ as was being diligently documented. And one of those nurses, Iola Edwards – who was one of those who expressed such concern regarding the fate of the patients once Denbigh had shut down – actively stopped a young woman from telling me any more, when she heard the young woman begging me to help her and claiming that she had been abducted, held in an attic ‘by a doctor’ with a group of other men and molested. (Would you know anything about this perchance Dafydd, after all your mistress was named in the Waterhouse Report as having colluded with a paedophile ring whilst she was Director of Gwynedd Social Services). That young woman disappeared within hours – Iola Edwards obviously knew what had happened to her and must have been instrumental in flagging up to someone in authority that the young woman had told me what had happened to her, so they got her out of there quick. I bet they didn’t let her go though, or take her to the police. And of course the community care provided after Denbigh eventually shut was dreadful – because it was managed and staffed by the same people who ran and staffed Denbigh. Did anybody really imagine that their values and standards would suddenly change just because someone gave them offices and clinics in a different building?

The NAWU dwelt on some other familiar themes as well. In the 1930s their journal carried reports on the experimental use of leucotomies and ECT and the Government’s Athlone Report stated that ‘medical staff now require highly skilled mental health nurses to assist’. Although the historian of nursing Peter Nolan argues that physical treatments threatened to erode nursing skills by reducing nurses to doctors assistants, COHSE’s predecessor was enthusiastic about the ‘new therapies’. During the 1940s and 50s there was a reconceptualization of the image of the psychiatric patient as that of a client or guest. By 1961 glossy photos showing the luxurious aspects of public hospitals were displayed monthly in the journal and hospitals were described as if they were hotels. But when the Hergest Unit was built at Ysbyty Gwynedd there was much excitement and boasting about the new facilities – of course they were very much better than what had been on offer at Denbigh, but huge cracks soon appeared in the service, which still contained the former staff and managers from Denbigh.

The NAWU also reflected two other ideas concerning psychiatric patients that were expressed by some professionals – that either sterilisation or euthanasia would be a good idea. In 1929 the Gov’t considered sterilising ‘mental defectives’ and they were depicted as an economic threat to sane ratepayers. In 1934 Prof JA Berry, Director of Medical Services at Stoke Colney, Bristol, argued that some in his care should be killed, a ‘kindly euthanasia’ being the ‘only really kindly treatment’. A Dr EGL Goffe, a Kingston physician, suggested no other alternative for ‘idiots’ than the ‘lethal chamber’ as ‘such people should not be a drag on the community…a waste of money and energy keeping them alive…’ Many doctors wrote in favour of sterilisation – however one Dr Neil Montgomery showed an acute awareness of class power abuse issuing from doctor to patient, commenting that it tended to be the poor who should be recommended for sterilisation and at the same time expressed sentiments of duty to the patients which were not expressed by the working class members of the NAWU. (Remind anyone of the current Tory Govt’s new policy that people claiming tax credits for a third child can only do so if they can demonstrate that the child resulted from rape?) In July 1935, the cartoonist for the MHIWU journal (as it had then become) depicted the Board of Control Chairman’s view – a full page image of a physically deformed figure whose featureless ‘shadow’ fell menacingly over Britain. The figure was represented with palms outstretched, recalling the belief expressed in the journal by doctors, judges, Poor Law guardians and the Board of Control that ‘mental defectives’ were socially inefficient and an economic drain on the resources of the ‘normal’ population. Obviously a bunch of shirkers and skivers like all those people that George Osborne seemed to know of…

In 1963 an editorial in the journal commented that if the Lord Chancellor and Lunacy Commissioners were anxious for the welfare of the patients, the very first thing that they should turn their attention to is the conditions of asylum services to attract and retain the best types of men and women. Sounds familiar – here comes a nurses pay claim, just after revelations that patients were being treated dreadfully. By the end of the ‘60s, the situation of the patients had not improved. Barbara Robb’s famous expose of the appalling treatment of the mentally ill in hospitals, ‘Sans Everything: A Case To Answer’, elicited personal attacks on Robb and COHSE complained of a ‘witch-hunt’ atmosphere and parodied Robb’s expose as ‘Knock Everything’. COHSE was not the only body representing psychiatric nurses – the RCN did as well and in 1970 their conference attacked psychiatric nurses conditions of work. The Chairman of their Psychiatric Committee suggested the patients posed the main limitation to nurses work. Once more a dire representation of your average psychiatric patient was constructed, with it being claimed that being spat at, kicked, scratched and bitten was all in a day’s work and that nurses spent much of their times separating patients who were fighting or warding off assaults on themselves.

The journal of the NAWU also reflected the gender battle that took place within it’s own ranks. From the 1920s onwards there was much opposition from male asylum attendants to women nurses working on male wards. Sick patients were portrayed as violent anti-social misfits whose violent and sexually depraved behaviour would only increase at the hands of kindly female nurses – a similar argument was used at the Hergest Unit as the rationale for their callous treatment of those whom they labelled ‘personality disordered’. Indeed, a suicide attempt by one such patient was constructed by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones as being the result of ‘ire’ of all things. Yet Nursing Times, a journal dominated by women, opposed the NAWU, pointing out that ‘not a single complaint of any kind has been made by the female nurses’ – furthermore, a female nurse was quoted as commenting that constructing all ‘mental cases’ as ‘depraved’ was an ‘insult’ to many patients. This depiction of patients as violent and sexually perverted diminished when it was no longer in accordance with the image that the Union was trying to establish. This turnaround confused members – there is written evidence from one male nurse demonstrating that he was puzzled as to how the Union could have ‘forgotten’ what patients were like.

Throughout the twentieth century, the journal of the NAWU repeatedly published articles on themes that are still pursued at present. An article in the 1940s written by a patient, ‘David’, was the first time that the journal has offered any degree of respect to a patient’s account. David was completely uncritical of his treatment and maintained that it could only have been bettered if the asylum staff were paid more. This is startlingly reminiscent of much discourse from present day ‘service user involvement’. Two of the biggest figures in the UK in this field are Peter Beresford and Rachel Perkins. Beresford is a former social worker and this is very obviously still a major part of his identity and Perkins is the former clinical director of Springfield Hospital. Perkins oversaw a disaster, including a number of murders, and Springfield was subjected to damning comments at a subsequent public inquiry. Neither Beresford or Perkins have ever spoken out about serious abuse and neglect in the mental health services, criminal activity on the part of the ‘professionals’ or the problems of dishonest expert witnesses in psychiatry. Their concerns tend to revolve around ‘discrimination’, ‘stigma’ and the need for more funding and higher staff pay. Some years ago I received a series of very angry e mails from someone who had completed a PhD with Beresford, demanding to know why I would not ‘come out’ as an academic who was a ‘service user’, telling me that Peter Beresford could ‘help’ me. I have made it clear in my publications that I do not hide my involvement with the mental health services but I find the ‘service users movement’ for the most part strangely deradicalised, denatured and institutionalised and I explained this to the person who e mailed me. They became angrier and angrier and made it clear that I was some sort of traitor by not joining the merry band who remain silent about serious wrongdoing but who campaign for higher pay for the people involved in this.

Another article in the NAWU journal from the early middle years of the twentieth century concerned the activities of a charity dedicated to the after care of discharged asylum patients, supposedly committed to their economic and social reintegration. The charity’s President had commented that the work of the charity assisted the state by producing good citizens. Does this sound familiar to you Paul Farmer?

Another article published in the 20s stressed the important of asylum attendants completing the Certificate of the Medico-Psychological Association, in order that the work would be seen as highly skilled and professional. Nurses these days are encouraged to go for postgrad education, because nursing is ‘highly skilled’ and ‘professional’. Some years ago I was forwarded an e mail from a ward manager at the Hergest Unit which frankly declared that he didn’t want to do an Masters because he’d found completing a Bachelor’s degree very difficult, but his boss, the nursing manager Lena Henry, had told him that it would make the Hergest Unit look good if he did enrol for a Masters. Meanwhile patients died.

Again, as far back as the 1920s, the NAWU’s journal was maintaining that the general public only saw the worst side of mental hospitals and that if the public were allowed to enter such hospitals they would receive enlightenment. I witnessed two such Tours of North Korea myself, one in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and one at the newly opened Hergest Unit. Local dignitaries were guided around the best parts of the building by the nicest members of staff. At Denbigh it occurred on Christmas morning when the Mayor and his entourage paid a visit. They were all very friendly, but of course patients clamoured to desperately tell the Mayor et al what was actually happening to them in there. The accompanying nurses used obviously tried and tested techniques to deflect the conversation onto other matters, such as the Christmas presents that the staff had given us that morning – they did give us thoughtful presents and they gave us a good spirited Christmas dinner as well – but a lot of the patients that the Mayor met had been detained illegally, although he wasn’t told that. The nurses did tell me that the Mayor visited the hospital every Christmas morning – ah, so they knew that he would be coming then! When the doors of the newly opened Hergest Unit were thrown open to some local councillors I took the opportunity to tell them that one of the psychiatrists there was having sex with the patients. A sharp-witted nurse interjected with ‘that man does not have any beds in this hospital’. No, but they let him in every Tuesday to hold outpatient’s clinics…

In 1969 COHSE’s journal concerned itself with the struggle for status between psychiatric nurses and psychiatric social workers. The social work profession made it very clear that they considered themselves superior and expressed concern that nurses would ‘muscle in’ on community work. Interestingly enough, I know a psychiatric nurse who trained in the 70s who considers that social work training is too political, concentrates too much on the identity and place in the world of the social worker and does not pay enough attention to the concept of duty to one’s clients. This nurse believed that this was what lay behind so many of the problems that patients experienced with the Arfon Community Mental Health Team – whether she knew that some members of that team were doing the bidding of people who were facilitating a paedophile gang I do not know. I note that Chapter Three of Dr Long’s thesis is concerned with the development of psychiatric social work. I look forward to reading her account of the evolution of the profession of which Hywel Williams was such a proud member.

Reading Chapter Two of Dr Long’s thesis one can only conclude that very little has changed – unions representing mental health staff in the UK have been very much more concerned with the pay and conditions of their members and have been prepared to denigrate the people that they are paid to care for to achieve this, ruthlessly manipulating public opinion. Was it really All A Very Long Time Ago and that Things Are Different Now? Well when I was in Denbigh a nurse called Bob reminisced about how he used to ‘manage’ the patients in his earlier years – he told me that the nurses had to make the patients more frightened of them than they were of their hallucinations. Bob told me that in 1987 – he may still be alive. As many of the older Denbigh nurses are. It is indeed informative to go on the website of the grandly titled North Wales Hospital Historical Society, which is actually a forum for former staff. There are a number of threads where staff have been chatting to each other – those poorly paid nurses who were constantly in danger from patients are certainly enjoying retirement. They discuss their exotic foreign holidays and one of them has a yacht that he talks about. Whilst I was in the Heddfan Unit a former Denbigh nurse who used to pop in there to do a bit of agency work told me that he owned a property in Florida and he spends his time between there and his place in north Wales. By the way, as mental health workers, all these people were entitled to retire at 55 yrs old with a full pension. Tory Cuts anyone? I know of someone else in north Wales who is both a psychiatric nurse and a psychiatric social worker. This man told me years ago that as a student, he was one of those who exposed the Ely Hospital Scandal – he claimed to have punched a nurse whom he saw assault an elderly man before he mobilised the students. Yet this man sectioned people in Denbigh, he knew about the horrors of Prestwood homes, he knows exactly how bad the mental health services are and he watched highly inappropriate people qualify as social workers when he worked in social work education at Coleg Menai. He has never spoken out about any of it. He now has a leading role in MIND in north Wales. Do you fancy punching a few other people Geoff? Starting with your senior colleagues at MIND who pay your salary and are doing such damage…

Bring on the protests then. Of those who are only protesting because they Care.

 

 

 

Conflicts of Interest – and Some Very Big Salaries

Regular readers of this blog will by now have gained some idea of the wrongdoing, cronyism and mutual backscratching that is rife within the NHS in north Wales and other associated organisations and sectors. So at this point I will take the opportunity to introduce the following document to readers, the Betsi’s Annual Report and Accounts, 2015/16 http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/861/BCUHB%20Annual%20Report%202015-161.pdf

Some of the information is now slightly out of date, due to the departure and arrival of various Board Members, but it’s worth reading this document. Take a look at pages 46-47, the Register of Director’s Interests. It is certainly illuminating.

Prof Angela Hopkins (now retired) was the Director of Nursing, Widwifery, Therapies and Health Sciences. It was on Angela’s watch that the disaster in Tawel Fan brewed and exploded – and Angela was one of those previously employed by the North West Wales Trust who failed to investigate complaints of nurses threatening me and abusing their positions. Recent blog posts of mine have described what passes for ‘therapy’ in the Betsi. And Bangor University recently withdrew midwifery students from certain placements in the Betsi due to serious problems, although the precise nature of those problems was not widely known. So Angela has not really excelled. Yet Angela was ‘Director in Wales with the Royal College of Nursing’, a ‘Member of the National Cultural Alignment Group, sponsored by the Royal College of Nursing’ and was awarded an honorary Chair at Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences in 2015 (by that time, everyone knew about Tawel Fan). So this woman, who presided over gross failure and naked abuse, held influential positions within her professional body and was rewarded with a Chair – a Chair in the School of Healthcare Sciences, which was previously headed by Jo Rycroft-Malone, who now sits on the Betsi Board after previously receiving research funding from the Betsi! I used to wonder why the Betsi was picking up awards from the Royal College of Nursing despite the horrors that existed there…

Bernie Cuthel (no longer sitting on the Board, but I think she still works for the Betsi), but former ‘Interim Director of Primary, Community and Mental Health Services. So she didn’t do too well in improving those services then during her time as Interim Director. Bernie of course arrived at the Betsi amid much media coverage, due to the enormous cloud under which she seemed to have left her last position as a senior manager in the NHS in England. Allegations of bullying and mismanagement swirled around and questions had been asked in the House…So Bernie is obviously the ideal person to be a member of the ‘Governing Body of Nugent Care’, a Third Sector organisation providing services to vulnerable adults and children. Bernie has a family member working in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Dr Peter Higson, OBE. Peter and his activities past and present have featured prominently on this blog – he’s the Chairman of the Betsi. But look – he’s also a Council Member at Bangor University (which seems to be dishing out funds and Chairs to people involved with the Betsi who often seem rather undeserving of these Chairs and funds). Peter’s sister is Ruth Hussey – until last spring, she was Chief Medical Officer for Wales. Ruth was recently awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Bangor University. Peter also has a finger in the Third Sector pie, he is a Trustee of Cartrefi Cymru, an organisation providing residential homes for people with learning disabilities. Not sure that his track record suggests that he’ll be much use in that role.

Prof J. Rycroft-Malone. ‘Independent Board Member and University Representative’. The only interest that Jo declares here is that her spouse is an employee of the Betsi. But read my previous post an ‘Expert On The Betsi Board!’ and it is clear that Jo and people that she directly works with clearly enjoy a very cosy relationship with the Betsi and seem to have benefited from substantial funding from the Betsi.

Mrs B. Russell-Williams. ‘Independent Board Member.’ She’s also Chief Officer of Gwynedd County Voluntary Council aka Mantell Gwynedd – which receives funding from the Health Board (I’m becoming very familiar with this arrangement). Mantell Gwynedd is infamous to those of us who are familiar with north west Wales; no-one ever worked out what it did or what is was for, there were constant allegations of nepotism and cronyism in terms of who actually landed paid positions with Mantell Gwynedd and it was widely perceived to be a Welsh language equivalent of the Abbey Road Centre/MIND in Bangor, another Third Sector organisation which seemed to be achieving very little and dishing out jobs to friends. But look – Bethan’s husband chairs Gwynedd Community Health Council. For the uninitiated, the CHC advertises itself as the ‘watchdog’ that represents patient’s interests in the region. The CHC is notorious for having kept completely silent about the state of the mental health services in north Wales. I see that on her Board Member profile, it is stated that Bethan is ‘passionate’ about the Third Sector ‘particularly about the future role of the Third Sector in the delivery of public services in Wales’. I bet she is – ‘co-production’ is now Welsh Govt policy and the gravy train clearly cometh, particularly now that Bethan is on the Betsi Board.

Mrs L. Meadows. ‘Director at Bangor University’. Lyn Meadows is well-known to me and has featured previously on this blog, in relation to her unprofessional behaviour whilst she was HR Director at Bangor University, her activities when she was on the Board of an NHS Trust in the north west of England and her ‘previous’ at the Welsh Ambulance Service. (Please read, for example, my blog post ‘The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’.)

 

I have only highlighted the very dodgy connections and potential conflicts of interest that are obvious to me upon scanning this document. If I did a bit more research who knows what I’d dig up – readers of this blog may have spotted a lot more than I have. I do accept that people who work together often marry each other and that people with similar interests or working in similar fields get to know each other and build up networks. If these people were self-sacrificing geniuses, working for the good of the wider public in north Wales and involved in genuinely ground-breaking research and initiatives, such a network would be fantastic. However they are clearly not doing that and the evidence is an effectively bankrupt Health Board in special measures and deaths of mental health patients that are so frequent that I’ve found it worth my while keeping a tally on this blog.

Now scroll down to page 51 of the document and get some idea of what this bunch of charlatans are being paid (before expenses, allowances and other jollies that is). Gary the CEO: full year equivalent salary £200,000-205,000. Angela Hopkins was on £130,000-135,000. The dreadful Martin Jones (on a protected contract for 10 years after being recycled into the Betsi following his disasterous ‘leadership’ of the North West Wales Trust) is receiving £130,000-135,000. Grace Lewis-Parry (on a 10 year protected contract after being recycled into the Betsi following her previous lacklustre performance as CEO of the Local Health Board) nets £100,000-105,000. Higson, who can’t even answer an e mail and ‘cannot recollect’ when he has been told about the most serious abuses in the mental health services, is pulling in £65,000-70-,000 for ‘Chairing’ this catastrophe, after he retired from his failings at Health Inspectorate Wales. Even ‘Independent Members’ like Bobby Feely, Meadows and Bethan from Mantell Gwynedd are receiving £15,000-20,000.

How can this be justified in the light of the neglect and abuse in the NHS in north Wales? North Wales – and Gwynedd in particular – has swathes of people on benefit, in casual minimum wage jobs and some of the lowest incomes in the UK. Snowdonia hill farmers only manage to stay in business because of agricultural subsidies. But get your foot in the door of the NHS (or ‘Third Sector’), refuse to resign even in the face of public outrage when your failures are made public and you’ll be among the highest paid people in the region – even though the people on the receiving end of your ‘service’ will be dying.

The phrase ‘snouts in the trough’ comes to mind. Or, for a more literary reference, we can paraphrase George Orwell – ‘The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, and from Gary to Martin to Peter to Lyn to Jo, but already it was impossible to say which was which’.

 

 

 

Now For – ‘The Serenity Programme’

Whilst doing some research for future blog posts today, I stumbled across something else that, like Parabl, had until now escaped my attention (please see blog post ‘Newly Discovered – ‘Parab’!’). This is – ‘The Serenity Programme’, which is brought to us by Steve Cottrell, who describes himself as a mental health nurse in north Wales http://serene.me.uk/
Although The Serenity Programme is being promoted as ‘therapy’, as with Parabl, there are not many therapists involved. Once more, we are taken into the realms of CCBT – ie. CBT via computer. (I note that there is a link to Parabl on The Serenity Programme’s website.) The Serenity Programme advertises itself as being for people with stress, anxiety and depression. As with Parabl, the website is littered with alleged comments from unidentified people at various locations in north Wales telling the world how great The Serenity Programme is. The Serenity Programme’s website has links to some very cheap and cheerful ‘psychological tests’ and a brief ‘self-help programme’. But scroll through to the end of the spiel on the website – and you’ll find a little note explaining that The Serenity Programme isn’t meant to take the place of face to face contact with a health professional – readers are told that if they are seeking health advice or are in crisis or seeking urgent help they should contact NHS Direct or the Samaritans. So as with Parabl, it doesn’t look as though the Serenity Programme is going to be offering any help to anyone who might actually need it.
Despite these severe limitations, Steve Cottrell proudly boasts of all the awards that The Serenity Programme has clocked up – Welsh Innovations In Healthcare, British Journal of Nursing Clinical Practice, Royal College of Nursing, Best Mental Health Nursing Project In Wales, Bevan Institute Prize for Health and Well-Being and Fab NHS Stuff. There’s even a photo of Steve meeting Gordon Brown at a Downing Street reception! Do any of these people know that The Serenity Programme is not actually offering any help to anyone in distress? And do they know what is going on in the mental health services in north Wales (sadly, I suspect that some of them do, but they’ve decided not to delve too deeply into that particular can of worms). Steve also lists a number of people whom he thanks for having helped develop The Serenity Programme – there are a few familiar names here: Dr David Crossley (a psychiatrist employed by the Betsi who trained at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, who will be featuring on this blog soon), Dr Rob Poole (another psychiatrist at the Betsi who features in blog posts ‘Service User Involvement In North Wales’ and ‘Experts in Suicide Prevention??’), Robin Holden (former Denbigh nurse, former senior nurse manager at the Hergest Unit and now I see ‘MIND Executive’ too (please see blog post ‘The Mysterious Silence of MIND’ and ‘A Convenient Arrangement With The Private Sector’), Clive Wolfendale of Parabl (Clive is also the most senior manager in the organisation that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones founded and still chairs, CAIS), Sean Clarke (that’s the man at the Betsi who commissioned Parabl and also doubles up as Clinical Programme Manager, Primary Care and Psychological Therapies at the Betsi), Dr Seren Roberts (who I think is a former Denbigh nurse as well) etc etc. Steve mentions that The Serenity Programme was developed in partnership with Aberconwy MIND – why are we not surprised?
After reading all this vacuous guff from the Award-winning, Prime Minister-meeting, Fab NHS Stuff-producing Steve, I’d nearly had enough, but thought that I’d better click on the menu provided on the website in case there were further horrors for me to discover. I wasn’t disappointed.
Clicking on ‘Cwm Taf First Steps’ on the menu led me to yet another programme for people with stress, anxiety, low mood and indeed ‘low self-esteem’. Once more, this is not for people who are a risk to themselves or others or who lack ‘motivation, concentration or energy’ ie. anyone who might be seriously ill. First Steps is an ‘educational programme’ with ‘telephone support’ – and yes, computerised CBT, what else?? I note that the ‘telephone support’ is certainly brief (15-30 mins or so) and further digging suggests that those on the end of the telephone are not actually therapists at all. This becomes obvious if you download the ‘helpers resources’ from the site – these are a series of very basic powerpoint presentations that would not fool anyone who had received training in psychotherapy. I was interested to read on one of the helper’s presentations that it was stated that ‘if people can fall in love in chatrooms, by letter, or by e mail, then the medium can sustain a relationship and allow therapeutic, affective (sic) work’. Now what often happens when people fall in love in chatrooms, by letter or by e mail? THEY GET SWINDLED BY CONMEN….
There is loads more nonsense on the other powerpoint presentations available to download, but the powerpoint tantalisingly entitled ‘War and Peace’ excels. Within this, there claims to be ‘A Brief History of Violence’ which seems to involve a whole series of crude racial and gender stereotypes, some very dodgy misunderstood archaeology and anthropology, and photos of ‘Neanderthal man’ that are so ridiculous that I began to wonder whether this whole website was a spoof. It seems that ‘War and Peace’ is a conference presentation on anger for the Betsi by Steve Cottrell…
So this is what the NHS deems worthy of awards – and Steve gets to live it up at Downing Street whilst patients continue to die.